Nina Tassler Appointed Chairman, Extends CBS Deal Through 2017

Cliff Lipson/CBS
Nina Tassler

Tassler, who has been at CBS for more than two decades, will become chairman of the entertainment division and add a limited-series and live-event programming unit to her portfolio.

Nina Tassler has signed a new deal with CBS Corporation that keeps her at the network's entertainment division in an expanded role through 2017. The announcement came Thursday from CBS president and CEO Leslie Moonves, to whom Tassler reports.

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Tassler will have continued purview over primetime, daytime, late night, and development including comedy, drama, reality, specials and long-form, while she'll add to her portfolio a newly created limited-series and live-event programming unit. She'll also continue to oversee entertainment division matters in advertising, promotion, business affairs, consumer products, digital/interactive, diversity, publicity, scheduling and research. She will become chairman of CBS Entertainment, the same title given to Jeff Fager and Sean McManus, her counterparts at CBS News and CBS Sports, respectively. 

“Nina’s creative instincts, programming savvy and leadership skills have helped form a hit-making machine that has fueled the network’s success and benefitted the company’s bottom line,” said Moonves in a statement. “She’s been a friend and colleague for 25 years, and I’ve witnessed firsthand the genuine and positive energy, as well as hands-on skills, she brings to every facet of the creative process. There are very few executives with her track record of consistently achieving high-level success in all forms of entertainment programming.”

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CBS has been the most-watched TV network for 10 of the past 11 years thanks to its stable schedule of broad comedies and episodic dramas. But for the past two seasons, the network also has been No. 1 among viewers 18-49, the demographic most coveted by advertisers. And Tassler, who has been among Moonves' top lieutenants at CBS for more than two decades, last summer successfully moved CBS into the event space with Under the Dome.  It is a genre in which the broadcast networks are increasingly investing in efforts to break through in a noisy time-shifted media environment. (Earlier this month, CBS finalized a deal with the NFL for eight Thursday night football games beginning in September.) The second season of Dome bows June 30, followed July 2 by the premiere of the Halle Berry-starring Extant, which, like Dome, is a co-production of CBS Studios and Steven Spielberg's Amblin Entertainment. CBS also has ordered the four-part miniseries The Dovekeepers from Mark Burnett, with a targeted 2015 premiere. (Dome and Dovekeepers are each based on best-sellers published by CBS Corp.'s Simon & Schuster.)

Broadcast executives have long bemoaned the self-imposed summer rerun season when viewers flock to cable for original episodes of scripted series. But the SVOD-upended media environment seems to have finally forced broadcast executives to put their money where their mouths have been. And at January's winter press tour, Tassler noted that the summer months are perfect for "blockbuster stories" and "great escapist television."