CBS’ Kelly Kahl Says Les Moonves Has Been a ‘Great Boss and Mentor’

TCA 2018: But “All allegations need to be and are being taken seriously,” CBS Entertainment president says

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CBS Entertainment president Kelly Kahl opened his executive session at Television Critics Association summer press tour Sunday by immediately addressing the sexual misconduct allegations against CBS Corp CEO Leslie Moonves.

“Leslie has been an excellent boss and mentor for a long time. And he put me in this job,” said Kahl. But he noted that “all allegations need to be and are being taken seriously.”

Moonves is facing an investigation stemming from sexual misconduct allegations made by six women. He will remain as CEO while the investigation is ongoing. The CBS board of directors has retained two law firms — Covington & Burling and Debevoise & Plimpton — to investigate accusations of misconduct against Moonves, as well as cultural issues at CBS News and “all levels of CBS.”

Significantly, the investigations will each be headed up by women, with Nancy Kestenbaum leading for Covington & Burling, and Mary Jo White for Debevoise & Plimpton. CBS has also formed a special committee of board members that will assist with the investigation.

“Obviously this has been a tough week at CBS,” Kahl said. “We’re not saying we’re perfect, no large company is and there’s always of room for improvement. But a lot of us have been here a long precisely because CBS Entertainment is such a fulfilling place to work.”

He added that they gave no thought to skipping their TCA day on Sunday. “We wanted to be here,” he said, noting that too many people have worked too hard on the upcoming fall slate and it wouldn’t be fair to not let them promote their shows.

“We think they deserve our best efforts to share all the new shows with all of you,” he added.