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CBS boss Les Moonves talks sports and politics

September 14, 2011 |  1:03 pm

In the wake of ESPN's deal to keep the NFL on its network at an average price tag of $1.9 billion a year, CBS Chief Executive Leslie Moonves said he also anticipated paying more, but hopefully nothing approaching what the sports cable channel will be shelling out.

Speaking at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Media, Communications & Entertainment Conference in Beverly Hills on Tuesday, Moonves said CBS intended to keep the American Football Conference rights to the National Football League television package.

CBS currently pays about $625 million annually for its package under a contract that runs through the 2013 season.

"I'm sure there will be an increase," Moonves told analyst Jessica Reif Cohen before quickly adding, "I hope it's not the increase they paid," referring to ESPN, which has paid about 1.1 billion a year under its current contract.

Moonves said he expected 2012 to be a huge year for political advertising and CBS, which owns television and radio stations in many of the nation's biggest markets, should be in a position to clean up.

"It may not be good for the country but it’s going to be good for CBS," he joked while discussing the political climate and the upcoming election.

With regards to CBS Films, Moonves again reiterated that there are no plans to start making big-budget movies and acknowledged that the company was going to "tread slowly" until it has its "arms around" the business. 


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-- Joe Flint

Photo: Les Moonves. Credit: John Paul Filo / CBS