Moonves thanks Leno for helping CBS


He didn’t mention him by name, but CBS Corporation CEO Les Moonves clearly had “The Jay Leno Show” in mind when talking about how business is improving at the local CBS O&O television stations.

Moonves told the UBS 37th Annual Global Media and Communications Conference in New York that business has been improving for the local stations to the point where now, excluding the impact of political advertising, ad revenues for the local O&Os are pacing up from a year ago. Automotive business is coming back, Moonves said, along with most other categories. “It doesn’t hurt that our TV stations, once again, 50% of their revenue comes from primetime and late night, so with the network doing well the stations are helped greatly,” he noted.

“Our 11 o’clock newses, because we win 10 o’clock across the board, are doing much better as well, which is also a significant revenue source for the TV stations. Their local news can’t be underestimated,” Moonves said. The CBS CEO predicted months ago that his 10:00 pm shows would beat NBC’s Leno every day – and that’s pretty much been proven out. NBC Universal CEO Jeff Zucker has defended the decision to run Leno five days a week in primetime, but recently admitted that the ratings impact on the local newscasts which follow the show has been greater than anticipated.

Not only is the local TV business improving, but the CBS Network has been even stronger. Moonves said scatter pricing for Q4 is up 25% from the Upfront. “We haven’t seen numbers like that in years,” he said. Advertiser demand is strong for the Super Bowl, which he said is over 90% sold out.