CBS' New Board Chief Is 60 and Has 8 Percent Body Fat

Strauss Zelnick, the new chairman of the board of directors, says that his shirtless photos in his 'Becoming Ageless' book are not retouched.
Christopher Lane/Contour by Getty Images; Courtesy of Simon and Schuster; Michael Nagle/Bloomberg via Getty Images
“America’s fittest CEO,” Strauss Zelnick, preaches a four-pronged approach to “an ageless life.”

Although Strauss Zelnick’s new book came out two months ago — Sept. 4 via Simon and Schuster imprint Galvanized Books — now that the businessman and entrepreneur has been named chairman of the CBS board of directors, insiders and media personalities are poring over the wellness tome titled “Becoming Ageless: The Four Secrets to Looking and Feeling Younger Than Ever.”

Zelnick, who replaces Richard Parsons in the role after the 70-year-old elected to step down due to complications from cancer, also owns his nickname as “America’s fittest CEO” by putting the goods on display via several shirtless photos including one full-page shot featuring the 60-year-old wearing only workout pants, a bracelet and a smile. (He writes that the images are not retouched at all.) 

In the book — written with executive editor of Muscle & Fitness Zack Zeigler — Zelnick explains that his fitness journey started in his late 30s when his wife said, “Honey, you really don’t look all that good." The moment of clarity led him to devote the same “rigor” he applied to professional life to his workouts. (Zelnick is founder of private equity firm Zelnick Media Capital; chairman and CEO of Take-Two Interactive Software; and former president and CEO of BMG Entertainment and president and COO of 20th Century Fox).

How he does that is by presenting a 12-week plan for readers to follow to help them achieve results similar to his own. Zelnick also reveals that he’s 6-foot-1’, 160 pounds with 8 percent body fat. So, what are the four key elements to an “ageless life” as outlined by Zelnick? Fitness, nutrition, health and soul. 

Zelnick tells The Hollywood Reporter that right now, his most strenuous workout is running with a coach with his Central Park morning crew. "Everyone agrees that it's the hardest workout of the week, even the runners in our group," he explains. "The sprint work is 20 to 25 minutes following by jogging and drills and core work. It's really challenging."

Zelnick likes to mix it up his routine and he also makes an appearance at Barry's Bootcamp at least once a week because their trainers "do a great job" and he enjoys the combination of running, floor work, weights and bands. But as for what he enjoys the most, that would be lifting weights. 

Asked about those shirtless images, Zelnick offers a matter-of-fact answer. Despite his initial concerns, he realized that it would be a disservice to the readers to present a healthy lifestyle and not show any photos. "It's not entirely fair," he said. "Naturally, one wants to be sensitive, and I did have to think about it. We all agreed more than one photograph would've been too much but not any would've raised questions. The shirtless picture is an athletic picture and is intended as such." 

As for his intentions, Zelnick says he hopes to inspire readers with his program, one that is not terribly demanding and should not scare off anyone who thinks the hill looks too high. "I recommend that you try to move, eat a moderate diet, have some kind of spiritual life and go to the doctor," he said. "It's pretty straightforward." 

In Zelnick's household, there is one more thing that is of high value: humor. So when asked about how his wife feels about the physical journey that she is partly responsible for, Zelnick didn't miss a beat in answering. "She finds it annoying," he said. "Her view is that I overdo it and that would be a kind way of saying it. We put an enormous premium on humor in our household, so I think I deserve it." 

This story first appeared in the Oct. 31 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.