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Leslie Moonves

president & ceo, cbs corporation

Leslie Moonves, President & CEO of CBS Corporation, addresses the Boston College Chief Executives' Club of Boston at the Wharf Room at the Boston Harbor Hotel.

CBS chief says Rather claims are "old news"

CBS Corp.'s chief executive stuck to his company's script in responding to former anchor Dan Rather's $70 million lawsuit against the network and its brass.  Taking questinos from reporters after addressing the Boston College Chief Executives Club downtown yesterday afternoon, Leslie Moonves called Rather's claims "old news" and said the suit was without merit before declining to answer several questions on the matter.

His comments repeated the network's official statement on the lawsuit filed Wednesday in which Rather accused CBS, Viacom Inc. chairman Sumner Redstone, Moonves, and former CBS News president  Andrew Heyward of scapegoating him after a 2004 story aired about President Bush's military service record.  Rather later apologized on air for flaws in the story.  he left the network last year.

Fr. William P. Leahy, S.J. (President, Boston College), The Honorable Thomas M. Menino (Mayor, City of Boston), James Mongan (President & CEO, Partners Health Care), Thomas May (Chairman, President & CEO, NSTAR), Eric Rosengren (President & CEO, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston), Ed Piette (President, WBZ), Michael Sheehan (CEO, Hill Holliday), Alfred Verrecchia (President & CEO, Hasbro), The Honorable Margaret H. Marshall (Chief Justice, MA Supreme Judicial Court), and Robert Kraft (Owner, New England Patriots) listen to Mr. Moonves' remarks.

Moonves spoke more freely about his compnay's plans to maintain its relationship with Apple Computer Corp.'s iTunes service, even as top competitor NBC pulled its content off the service last month.  NBC wanted more control over the price of its shows on iTunes and ultimately made a deal to offer its shows via's Unbox download service.  Yesterday, NBC said it will offer free downloads directly from its website, though consumers would not be able to move content to devices like iPods and could not skip commercials.

Moonves said CBS has  no plans to remove its shows from iTunes though its overall downloading strategy is still evolving.

Members of the media crowd around Mr. Moonves following his remarks.

"Our relationship with iTunes is still pretty good.  They still have all our content, and we plan on continuing wtih them," he said.  But CBS and the rest of the TV industry is still trying to find the appropriate balance between making money off downloads and giving away content on the web for free, he said.

"The revenue streams right now compared to any other revenue streams we have are really minor.  They're really a small amount.  So right now we're looking at both of them, we think obviously the revenue is going to grow, but as a promotional vehicle we love it.  We love the fact that 'CSI' is getting introduced to audiences that might not have known about it."

Article by Keith Reed
Boston Globe
Friday, September 21, 2007