Nancy Tellem is staying at CBS, taking on a new role as senior advisor to company CEO Leslie Moonves.
As has been expected for several years now, Tellem is giving up her official duties overseeing all west coast operations at the Eye. For now, her two biggest direct reports — network chief Nina Tassler and studio head David Stapf — will now report directly to Moonves.
The change is effective Jan. 1. Tellem told her staff about an hour ago, though none were likely surprised given the recent rumors surrounding her exit. Tellem will focus on new media and other ahead-of-the-curve issues.
CBS will put out a press release making this all official within an hour.
UPDATE: Here’s the official word from CBS.
CBS Corporation President and CEO Leslie Moonves announced today that Nancy Tellem, President of the Network Television Entertainment Group, will transition to a new role with the Company beginning January 2010.
As Senior Advisor to the CEO, Tellem will step back from the day-to-day operations and dedicate her efforts to exploring business and strategic opportunities – both domestic and global – involving content partnerships, new production models, developing technologies and emerging media. In addition to her new responsibilities, she will also continue to oversee CBS’s interest in The CW Television Network, which is a 50/50 joint venture with Warner Bros. Entertainment.
“This is a new role in a fast-changing landscape for a very gifted executive,” said Moonves. “Nancy has been my friend, colleague and trusted advisor for more than 20 years. She has been instrumental in the growth and success of CBS’s television business, helping to lead our network entertainment and television studio operations to great heights. She has been looking for a new challenge and is very passionate about this transformative time in our business. Nancy has great experience, business acumen and intellect in all of these evolving areas, and importantly, she knows first-hand all of the resources and talent that we have in this Company to make the most of these opportunities.”
“Leslie has been an extraordinary boss, mentor and friend,” said Tellem. “I share his belief that great content companies such as CBS are well-positioned to capitalize on the developing business models and emerging technologies that will be part of the new television landscape. I’m ready to embrace this new challenge, to step away from the desk, look toward the future and help the company explore its many opportunities. The timing for this transition couldn’t be better,” added Tellem. “The network and the studio are both in great positions of strength with outstanding programming and exceptional leaders in Nina Tassler, David Stapf and Debby Barak.”
Moonves said the operations at the network and the television production studio will continue under the leadership of Nina Tassler, President of CBS Entertainment, and David Stapf, President of CBS Television Studios.
As President of the CBS Network Television Entertainment Group, Tellem has overseen CBS’s entertainment operations during a period of great success. The network has been number one in primetime for six of the past seven years and the studio has grown into one of the top suppliers of primetime programming with 25 series ordered for the 2009/10 season, including many of the top rated shows on television.
Before CBS established a formal Interactive division, Tellem played an important role in the Company’s early efforts to expand its content across emerging platforms, including CBS.com, and leading CBS’s entry into the mobile arena. She has also shepherded the recent wave of new digital rights agreements with program suppliers to increase the distribution of CBS content in the digital space.
Tellem joined CBS in July 1997 as Executive Vice President of Business Affairs for CBS Entertainment as well as head of CBS Productions. One year later, she was promoted to President of CBS Entertainment, where she was involved with the development and launch of programs such as “Survivor,” “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,” “The Amazing Race” and “Two and a Half Men.”
Prior to CBS, Tellem was Executive Vice President, Business and Financial Affairs for Warner Bros. Television, playing an instrumental role in maintaining the studios dominance as the industry’s leading supplier of series to the networks.
UPDATED 3:47 CST TO CLARIFY REPORTING STRUCTURE