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CBS CEO George Cheeks on long-term plans, morale and the all-important fate




CBS CEO George Cheeks on long-term plans, morale and the all-important fate

Just days after Bob Bakish left Paramount Global as CEO, CBS President/CEO George Cheeks – one-third of the newly formed ‘Office of the CEO’ that will now jointly lead the company – spoke to reporters about what they can do in the future to expect. And so far he can’t say much.

Cheeks met with reporters Thursday, along with CBS Entertainment prexy Amy Reisenbach, to unveil CBS’s 2024-2025 TV schedule. But Cheeks, who is now also part of the CEO’s Paramount Global office that also includes Chris McCarthy (president and CEO, Showtime/MTV Entertainment Studios and Paramount Media Networks) and Brian Robbins (president and CEO of Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon) , opened his remarks by first addressing the elephant in the room.

The executive can’t comment on Paramount’s impending fate, and like clockwork, news that Sony Pictures Entertainment and Apollo Global Management have made an offer to take Paramount private with an all-cash buyout offer of $26 billion came just minutes away before Cheeks met. with reporters. (The Sony/Apollo offer comes as the special committee of Paramount Global’s board created to review M&A proposals evaluates Skydance Media’s best and final offer to combine Paramount and Skydance and take Paramount Global public hold.)

But Cheeks did take the time to emphasize that the three CEOs are still running their respective businesses, even as they work together to run the entire company.

“We’re only four days into the trip, so I can’t say much,” Cheeks said. “But there are two things I wanted to say. The first is that Brian, Chris and I are finalizing our strategic plan that we will be rolling out as soon as possible. The second point is that divisions will continue. What I mean by that is that I will still remain the sole head of CBS. Brian Robbins remains the only one with Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon. And Chris remains the sole head of MTV Entertainment and Showtime. In other words, I am not involved in the green light of Paramount Pictures, and Brian is not involved in the green light of CBS.”

As for how the trio of CEOs are mapping out their “long-term strategy” at a time when Paramount’s long-term fate is unclear, Cheeks added: “When you don’t control those things, you create a strategy for the long term. Because we believe CBS has incredible momentum right now. And we want to continue and stay on that course. We have no idea what could happen, whether the transaction could happen or not. But either way, we believe so strongly in CBS that we will continue to do what we do.”

Requested by Variety Describing how he is dealing with the issue of morale at Paramount, and specifically at CBS, Cheeks said, “It’s a challenging time right now. I mean, you read articles every day. But I think the amazing thing about this team is that we all linked arms and said, ‘We can only control, but we can also control.’ What we can control is helping develop great shows, hit shows and being number 1. And what’s great for me is that despite all the noise, everyone is just locked into what we need to do. I am impressed by this team every day. And especially now, when you have to deal with all that noise – by the way, not just at this company, but in the broader industry – it’s just amazing to me how well we’re all aligned and coming together and just kind of focused on what we do every day.