CBS Corp. has signed a new long-term contract with Leslie Moonves, president and chief executive of CBS Television, quashing speculation that the company's No. 2 executive is in the running for the top job at Time Warner's Hollywood studio.
Moonves will join the CBS board.
CBS would not disclose details of the new contract, which is effective immediately. Moonves' previous contract was due to expire in December of next year.
Under Moonves, CBS has risen in household ratings, but it still trails Fox, NBC and ABC among the younger viewers whom advertisers want to reach and pay a premium to do so. CBS has cut costs, snatched TV rights to National Football League games and is airing more programming to draw in young male viewers. The moves are expected to make CBS profitable this year for the first time in years.
"He has done a marvelous job of reorganizing the network," said Bear Stearns analyst Victor Miller, who rates CBS stock a "buy." "This is a very substantial vote of confidence in the direction he's taking."
CBS shares eased 56 cents to close at $45 on the New York Stock Exchange.
The moves end speculation that Moonves might return to Warner, whose longtime Co-Chairmen Robert Daly and Terry Semel recently resigned.
Before joining CBS in 1995, Moonves was TV chief at Warner Bros., where he led during some of the studio's most successful years, when it developed hits such as "Friends" and "ER."