CBS Entertainment Head to Exit as Company Cuts Costs
The head of CBS’s entertainment division is stepping down at the end of the year, as the parent company of America’s most-watched broadcast network looks to cut costs in a challenging advertising market.
Kelly Kahl, the entertainment executive behind shows including “The Equalizer,” “NCIS: Hawai’i” and “Fire Country,” told employees about his exit in an internal email. Thom Sherman, a programming executive at Paramount, which owns CBS, also said in a note to employees that he planned to step down from his position.
Mr. Kahl will be replaced by Amy Reisenbach, the executive vice president of current programs at CBS. In that role, Ms. Reisenbach has overseen creative affairs for scripted series broadcast on CBS and shows that CBS Studios produced for other broadcast networks.
“Kelly has been a fierce advocate for the vitality of broadcast television while being a steady and respected network leader through the good times as well as turbulent periods,” George Cheeks, the chief executive of CBS, said in an email to employees Wednesday.
Across the media sector, companies are bracing for a difficult period as marketers look to cut their advertising spending amid a tough economic climate. David Zaslav, the chief executive of Warner Bros. Discovery, and Bob Chapek, the chief executive of Disney, have both said that they plan to eliminate jobs or put hiring on hold while the market recovers.
Naveen Chopra, the chief financial officer of Paramount, which owns CBS, forecast cost-cutting at the company on the company’s third-quarter earnings call earlier this month, saying there would be “meaningful and sizable” reductions in the coming months.
On Wednesday, Paramount concluded a reorganization of its advertising division that will result in the departure of fewer than 100 employees, according to a person with knowledge of the decision. The company has more than 20,000 employees.
Paramount is racing to replace the money generated by its declining traditional TV business with revenue from its streaming business, which is still not profitable but is growing quickly. This month, Paramount said that its flagship streaming service, Paramount+, added about 4.6 million subscribers in the third quarter and saw revenue grow by about 65 percent, compared with the same period last year. The company now has nearly 67 million streaming subscribers.