32 Facts About Les Moonves


Les Moonves has been married to TV personality Julie Chen since 2004.


Les Moonves held a series of executive positions at CBS from July 1995 to September 2018.


Les Moonves was on the board of directors at ZeniMax Media from 1999 until 2021.


Les Moonves earned $68.4 million in 2017, combined with stock options of the media company, worth over $100 million.


Leslie Roy Moonves was born in Brooklyn, New York City to a religious Jewish family, the son of Josephine and Herman Moonves, and grew up in Valley Stream, New York.


Les Moonves has one sister, Melissa Moonves Colon, and two brothers, including entertainment attorney Jonathan Moonves.


Les Moonves attended Valley Stream Central High School and went to Bucknell University, graduating in 1971.


Les Moonves landed a few parts, playing tough guys on Cannon and The Six Million Dollar Man, which he described as "forgettable" TV roles before deciding on the career change.


Les Moonves worked as one of casting director Caro Jones' first office assistants early in her career.


Les Moonves joined Lorimar Television in 1985 as executive in charge of its movies and mini-series, and in 1988, became head of creative affairs.


Les Moonves joined CBS in July 1995 as President of CBS Entertainment.


In February 2005, Les Moonves was identified as the executive directly responsible for ordering the cancellation of UPN's Star Trek: Enterprise and the ending of the 18-year revival of the Star Trek television franchise.


In January 2006, Les Moonves helped make the deal that brought together the CBS-owned United Paramount Network with The WB Television Network to form The CW Television Network that fall.


Les Moonves was the second most highly-paid executive for 2012 and 2013: he received $58.8 million and $65.4 million.


Les Moonves is considered the second-highest paid CEO, having been paid $68.4 million in 2017.


In 2013, Les Moonves was inducted into the Television Hall of Fame.


Les Moonves was open to acquiring smaller film production companies to expand the company's CBS Films division.


Les Moonves deemed Jackson's apology as "insufficient" and implemented a blacklist of her music and music videos on MTV, VH1 and Infinity Broadcasting radio stations, all of which were owned by the original incarnation of Viacom at the time.


In February 2006, Les Moonves led CBS to file a $500 million lawsuit against Howard Stern for allegedly breaching his contract by failing to disclose the details of his deal with Sirius Satellite Radio while still employed by Infinity Broadcasting.


Les Moonves was on the board of ZeniMax Media from its foundation in 1999 until 2021, alongside his friend and ZeniMax president Ernest Del.


Les Moonves was placed under investigation by the CBS board.


In September 2018, The New Yorker reported that six more women had raised accusations against Les Moonves, going back to the 1980s.


Allegations of examples include Moonves refusing to cooperate with investigators, acting "evasive and untruthful" towards investigators, deleting hundreds of messages, and passing off his son's iPad as his own to investigators.


On May 14,2021, CBS and Les Moonves agreed to settle their disputes over the latter's $120 million severance.


On February 8,2019, The New York Times reported that Les Moonves had founded his own company in West Hollywood, California named Moon Rise Unlimited after being fired from CBS.


From early 2004 until its end in May 2015, Les Moonves made regular appearances on the Late Show with David Letterman.


Les Moonves appeared on the September 8,2015, premiere of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, operating a large switch he could use to switch back to reruns of The Mentalist if he was unhappy with the new program.


Les Moonves is a grand-nephew of Paula Ben-Gurion, born Paula Munweis, wife of David Ben-Gurion, the first Prime Minister of Israel.


In 1978, Les Moonves married Nancy Wiesenfeld, with whom he has three children including W magazine editor in chief Sara Les Moonves.


On December 10,2004, Les Moonves got a court to grant an early divorce, on a motion citing a "desire to return to the status of being single".


Les Moonves owns residences in Malibu and New York City.


Previously Les Moonves was a University of Southern California's Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism board member.