Minutes before its Upfront presentation yesterday,CBS Corp. was granted a restraining order against National Amusements’ Shari Redstone, preventing NAI from blocking a board meeting that could have diluted its voting shares in CBS from 80% to 17%. National Amusements, which is the controlling shareholder in CBS and Viacom, is pushing for a merger between the two companies that CBS opposes.
Which was why something was missing from CBS’s annual “Lox with Les” Upfront morning press breakfast, and it wasn’t the salmon. CBS chairman Les Moonves skipped the occasion for the first time. “Les sends his regards,” said CBS Entertainment president Kelly Kahl told journalists. “But when the number of questions he couldn’t answer outweigh the number of questions he could, he thought it might be a good year to sit this one out.”
Moonves didn’t sit out the Upfront, though, striding onstage at Carnegie Hall to a standing ovation. “So, how’s your week been?” he asked the crowd. “For years, I have told you that I will only be out here for a short time. This year, for the first time, I might mean it.” Late Show host Stephen Colbert couldn’t resist a zinger, noting during his monologue that CBS has the most exciting legal dramas, and “they also have great TV shows.”