LOS ANGELES -- The Television Critics Association summer press tour began Sunday morning with some tough questions for CBS, the network weathering a storm of controversy over its CEO Les Moonves.
The embattled head of CBS was hit with allegations of sexual misconduct by several women in an investigative piece in The New Yorker last week. Despite ongoing internal investigations, CBS still braved a room of television journalists Sunday morning at TCA, where CBS Entertainment president Kelly Kahl participated in a much-anticipated executive session.
“I know there was some speculation we would cancel today, but we wanted to be here,” Kahl said in his opening remarks.
Once the questions began, Kahl continued stuck to some of the same beats as he answered questions about the ongoing investigations into Moonves and other figures within CBS.
“We are committed to a collaborative, inclusive and safe workplace,” Kahl said.
He later added, “We’re not saying we’re perfect. No large company is.”
In the week since Ronan Farrow’s New Yorker piece was released, Kahl said the female executives who have come to him to discuss it were surprised about the allegations, as they don’t see that reflected within the company they know.
He also spoke briefly about his history with Moonves, who hired him, but noted that what’s come to light can’t be ignored.
“We must respect the voices that have come forward,” he said. “All allegations must be taken seriously.”
The questions also addressed those allegations against Brad Kern, the former showrunner of “NCIS: New Orleans,” who was given a new development deal with CBS this spring despite several internal investigations into misconduct. He has since been demoted from showrunner to consulting producer to not on set at all, while a third investigation is conducted.
Questioned why Kern has been given the new deal with so much circling him within the network, Kahl said he wanted to let the investigations run their course.
“I believe the hopeful result is to get to the truth,” he said
Despite the hard questions, the assembled journalists Sunday were appreciative of Kahl for making an appearance many believed CBS would skip. ABC, which has had its own controversies with “Roseanne,” and NBC have both chosen, as of now, to not have executive sessions with TCA members during their press days this week.
Hunter Ingram can be reached at 910-343-2327 or Hunter.Ingram@StarNewsOnline.com.