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November 28, 2011

CBS's Les Moonves weighs in on 'Two and A Half Men' and the "key" 18-49 demo

CBS president Leslie Moonves sat down for a rare one on one interview at the Hollywood Radio & Television Society (HRTS) Luncheon Series. Moonves talked to Variety's Brian Lowry about everything from 60 Minutes, The NBA, what he thinks about networks basing programming decisions solely on the 18-49 demo.

The very vocal president was asked about everything from show cancellations, NBC and Two And A Half Men.

About "Two And A Half Men's" transition from Charlie Sheen starring to Ashton Kutcher joining the cast," Moonves said, "Things happen. One thing you know from being in this business as long as I have is shit happens. There are things you don't want to happen. It was unfortunate... I'm extremely pleased the ratings are up from where they were a year ago... I'm happy Charlie [Sheen] has a show with a good showrunner at a very good studio, Lionsgate. He's going on, we wish him well. I'm more than happy how well Ashton has done, other than his comments about Penn State, with the show and how Chuck [Lorre] has done the show. The numbers are terrific and I'm glad it's a chapter that's closed." Moonves feels that the show could last with its current numbers for many, many years.

When asked about his thoughts CBS being seen as the "older network" and why focusing so much on 18-49 demo, that so many networks base cancelation decisions about your favorite shows on, doesn't always work, Moonves said,

"As I've always said, even when we were in desperate last place, just basing the world on 18-49 is an untrue measure... we don't sell our schedule solely to 18-49. We sell it all sorts of different ways. The average age of the '60 Minutes' viewer is 63 years old. There are no 20 year olds or 30 year olds watching '60 minutes. "I think the baby boomers have gotten bigger, they've gotten older, I think our attitudes is always... a big hit is watched by everybody, even the big 18-49 year olds. 'American Idol' is not only watched by 18-49, it's watched by 80 years old and it's watched by 15 years old, it's watched by everybody. So the idea of programming just for a niche audience by a broadcaster is silly.'

"Two And A Half Men" airs Mondays and "^) Minutes" airs Sundays on CBS.

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