CBS CEO Thinks Network is Doing ‘A Good Job’ on Women’s Diversity

Upfronts 2017: Similar line of questioning happens every year at annual May breakfast

Les Moonves cbs viacom

At CBS’ pre-upfront breakfast on Wednesday, a reporter asked chairman and CEO Leslie Moonves about the lack of women leads in his new series orders.

Moonves iterated that despite the lack of women in lead roles, CBS’s shows still garner women viewers with shows like “Madam Secretary” — which stars Téa Leoni — and “The Good Fight,” which is on CBS All Access.

“More women watch CBS percentage-wise than any other network — so our shows have a lot of female appeal,” Moonves said.

Moonves continued, saying that a number of pilots have women in leading roles, but the best projects get picked up regardless of the gender of No. 1 on the call sheet.

“We do a number of pilots — a lot of them have women in starring roles. There are a lot of women in this new schedule,” he said. “The best pilots win at the end of the day, and we think our track record is OK.”

“Let me put on my CEO hat on for a second, because I’m not the president of Entertainment,” Moonves continued. “When I look at the totality of who CBS is, I look at news, I look at daytime, I look a sports, I look at Showtime, I look at the CW. They’re all part of our family And when you look at the totality of that, I think we’re fine in terms of the amount of women that are behind the camera, in front of the camera — I think we’re doing a good job.”

CBS has faced a version of that same tough questioning every year lately at its upfront breakfast. In previous seasons, the knock has been about the preponderance of white men, specifically, that carry American’s Most-Watched Network’s schedule.

This morning, Moonves also spoke about former free agent “American Idol,” which he says was actually offered to CBS. The economics of the show just made “absolutely no sense” for them, Moonves explained.

Click here for CBS’ 2017-18 schedule.