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There has been a major story developing in the world of network television since late July, as that was when Les Moonves, the CEO of CBS, was publicly accused of sexual misconduct. At the time the company said that it was going to conduct an investigation internally, review the findings, and "take appropriate action," and now it seems that the other foot has dropped. Reports are now out saying that Moonves will be exiting CBS.
Deadline has the details about the development, noting that the executive will be leaving his position immediately, and be replaced temporarily by Joseph Ianniello, the CBS's current COO. Also, both Les Moonves and the company will be each donating $20 million to what are described as "one or more organizations that support the #MeToo movement."
It was just a couple of days ago that we learned about the movements that were being made to see Les Moonves exit from CBS. On Friday there was a leak about the then-ongoing negotiations between the executive and the company, and it was said that Moonves would get an amount in the realm of $100 million to $125 million. Despite the official exit, it's worth noting that the final number still has not been determined, as the investigation is still happening and the results will impact what has been discussed.
This whole story began back during the middle of the summer when Ronan Farrow published an article about Les Moonves in The New Yorker. The article featured six women, including writer/actress Illeana Douglas each revealing details about their own personal encounters with Moonves. At the time, the executive published a response apologizing for making "some women uncomfortable by making advances," but denied that he "misused [his] position to harm or hinder anyone's career." In recent weeks the subject has been broached by some major names at CBS, including The Late Show host Stephen Colbert and Two and a Half Men creator Chuck Lorre.
The trade report adds that this big shift could wind up changing things in a major way behind the scenes at company - even bigger than you might normally see in a situation where a CEO is ousted from his position. In recent months there has been conflict behind the scenes due to a position held by Shari Redstone, CBS's controlling shareholder, as she has been arguing in favor of merging CBS Corporation with Viacom - also controlled by Redstone. Led by Moonves, CBS has fought against this, going as far as to file a lawsuit to try and lessen Redstone's power. Now, though, CBS has dropped its suit, and National Amusements - the theater company owned by the Redstone family - is adding six new independent directors to the CBS board. However, the subject of a merger can now not be raised for two years.
Obviously this story is still developing, as we are still awaiting the results of CBS's internal investigation, and there will eventually be news about an official new CEO - so stay tuned on CinemaBlend for the latest updates.