CBS honcho rips network's extreme fight plan

Thu May 1, 2008 1:02am EDT
 
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By Paul Bond

BEVERLY HILLS (Hollywood Reporter) - That ringing in your ears, Les Moonves, was your boss taking you to task for your plan to bring extreme fighting to CBS.

"Les usually asks my opinion," CBS Corp. executive chairman Sumner Redstone said Wednesday when asked about the four mixed-martial arts fights that will begin airing soon on the co-called "Tiffany network."

This time, Redstone said, the CBS president and CEO did not.

Redstone said the deal, struck with Elite Xtreme Combat, probably was a mistake, not because CBS won't turn a profit from it but because it is not "socially responsible" to air the typically bloody bouts on free, broadcast TV.

"I'm a lover not a fighter," the octogenarian billionaire said during a panel discussion at the Milken Institute Global Conference. "I don't like the sport."

Redstone said he doesn't like to "intrude" on Moonves and added that, "Most of the time, he does the right thing."

But Ed Goren, president of Fox Sports, was more direct, telling an audience of 200 that he didn't pursue a relationship with ultimate fighting because, "We don't need money that badly."

Redstone, sensing the presence of reporters, then faced the audience and proclaimed: "I want to send a message. 'Les, I'm not criticizing you. Don't call me tonight."'

Reuters/Hollywood Reporter

 
<p>Les Moonves, President and CEO of CBS Corporation, speaks at a forum in New York February 6, 2007. REUTERS/Chip East</p>