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December 5, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

CBS chief Les Moonves on Tuesday dismissed reports noting that his network’s ratings are down this year. That may be true, he told an investors conference in New York, but only because the network’s news division was pre-empting popular programs to bring viewers important election coverage. “We had four nights of debates, which pre-empted, God forbid,” he said jokingly, “Two and a Half Men, and we took a hit,” he said. But such news coverage, he suggested, enhances the network’s “public trust factor.” He continued, “We covered the election, and the election night [ratings] were great. It doesn’t help the bottom line, but it is very important for the image of CBS, and our place in society.” Moonves said that people often ask why the network bothers to maintain a news division, given the low ratings of most of its news programs. But, he said, “Right now our early show is the only one that is growing, our evening news is the only one that is growing. We are doing legitimate, hard news and people really want that.” As for complaints that the network’s 60 Minutes attracts big ratings but fails to draw younger viewers, Moonves noted. “The average age [of a 60 Minutes viewer] is 61 or 62 years old, and it makes us a ton of money,” he said.