CBS CEO Leslie Moonves is shockingly absent from today’s annual, traditional Upfront Presentation breakfast in New York with members of the media, at which it dramatically unveils its new primetime schedule and walks them through it over scrambled eggs and bagels at the top of Black Rock.
“Leslie sends his regards. He always enjoys this breakfast, but when the number of questions he could not answer outweighed the number he could, he thought it was a good year to wait it out,” CBS Entertainment chief Kelly Kahl told press at the breakfast.
Breakfast coincided with date set in which lawyers for CBS Corp and the Redstone-run holding company National Amusements will meet in front of Chancellor Andre Bouchard in Delaware’s Court of Chancery to argue over the media corporation’s desire for a temporary restraining order.
Earlier this week, Moonves went Game of Thrones on Shari Redstone allegedly seeking to alter the CBS board to ensure a merger with Viacom. CBS’ independent directors this week sought a restraining order against Redstone, who controls the company through NAI.
Kahl joked he knew “Coffee with Kelly” did not have the same ring to it as “Lox with Les.” But that he, and EVP Thom Sherman, would do their best to fill in.
The breakfast tradition is as old as some of the reporters at this morning’s clambake. And Moonves’ appearance is as much a part of the tradition as the CBS’ primetime schedule reveal, which was once done over breakfast with an actual board and a curtain, but these days is done digitally.
For years and years the much looked-forward-to event was, in fact, called Lox with Les, before CBS’ professional media strategists decided that was unseemly and too familiar, as Moonves moved up the corporate ladder. Name change coincided with Moonves taking a smaller role at the breakfast reveal, turning the schedule explaining over to his programming and scheduling execs.
But Moonves always showed up to glad-hand, and kicked off the festivities taking a few questions from an appreciative press.