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Moonves: Keep the Government Out of Retrans

By: Ben Grossman, Broadcasting & Cable

CBS chief Leslie Moonves said that while he doesn't know the exact details of the Fox-Cablevision standoff, the one thing he does know is the government should stay out of it.

"We still thinks it's unfair the USA Network gets paid more [by cable operators] than the CBS network, but we don't think the government should be involved, the companies should settle it themselves," he said. "We need to remember that ninety nine percent of these get solved quietly. The FCC or government getting involved in any way, shape or form would be a mistake. The system works just fine."

Moonves made the comments at the 2010 Broadcasting & Cable/Multichannel News OnScreen Media Summit at the Marriott Marquis in New York.

Moonves did comment on the Fox-Cablevision deal that has stretched into the World Series, but offered little detail.

"I don't know what the dispute is or how far apart they are," he said. "Nobody likes to see a dispute like this and we don't know the details... I think it's pretty obvious which side of this dispute I am on."

Moonves also took the opportunity to sound his familiar refrain that broadcast television is still in a strong position.

"Two of the networks are down, two of the networks are up from last year. Network television works if you know what you are doing," he said. "We are looking at higher profits than we have seen in a long, long time. The upfronts were extremely strong across the board...the scatter market is going to be phenomenal. There are a lot less make good for us."


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