Glenn Geller is stepping down as President of Entertainment at CBS. Geller, who had been on a medical leave following a mild heart attack he suffered in March, was scheduled to return to work this week. He has opted not to come back to his post and is in discussions for a producing deal with CBS TV Studios.
Two top programming executives of the CBS Corp. fold are expected to succeed Geller, the CW’s head of development, EVP Thom Sherman, and CBS’ longtime head of scheduling and one of CBS Corp. CEO Les Moonves’ most trusted lieutenants, Senior EVP Kelly Kahl.
Both Sherman and Kahl are coming off strong showings at the upfronts. The CW had its best slate of pilots in years, while Kahl made a successful debut onstage at Carnegie Hall, presenting CBS’ fall schedule to advertisers in Geller’s absence. It is unclear how the two will divvy up the president responsibilities, with Sherman likely taking charge of development.
UPDATE 12:50 PM: CBS has confirmed the leadership change, with Kahl named President, CBS Entertainment and Sherman Senior EVP Programming. Kahl will continue to report to Moonves while Sherman will report to Kahl. For more, read our story on the official announcement.
There had been a lot of speculation over the last couple of months whether Geller would return though Moonves said during CBS’ upfront presentation that he was expected back. While a number of outside candidates also had been rumored for the job, Moonves once again reached to the company’s executive bench for a replacement.
Geller, who was named president of CBS Entertainment in September 2015, has been with CBS since 2001. He served as EVP Current Programming for the CBS Network Television Entertainment Group before his promotion to CBS Entertainment president.
As part of a promotion for Sherman in January, when he expanded his oversight to include scripted series development, alternative programming, and specials, as well as alternative current, the CW upped two executives under him who will carry on running the departments under president Mark Pedowitz. Gaye Hirsch was named SVP, Scripted Development, overseeing the network’s scripted series development and Cyle Zezo was upped to Manager, Alternative Series, Specials, and Digital Programming.
At the CW, Sherman developed the network’s flagship DC superhero series and the award-winning comedy Jane the Virgin, among others.
Kahl, who has reported directly to Moonves, has had scheduling oversight for both CBS and the CW and is on the Board of Pop, a joint venture between CBS and Lionsgate Entertainment. He has worked with Moonves for about 25 years.