Les Moonves has no plans to retire any time soon, despite previously describing himself as retired from the entertainment business. The former CBS chief, who was ousted from the network he helmed for decades amid multiple sexual misconduct allegations, is reportedly running a new company as he attempts a major career comeback.
Moonves is currently fighting CBS over a $120 million severance package, but his exit agreement allegedly stipulates that the network must pay for any office space that he occupies for at least one year. Les Moonves is taking full advantage of that exit clause and has settled into a swanky 10th-floor suite at 9000 Sunset Boulevard for his new venture, the New York Times reports.
Les Moonves’ new company is called Moon Rise Unlimited. On October 30, about two months after he left CBS, Moonves registered the limited liability company that will focus on “entertainment services,” listing himself as manager of the company. Moonves also formed two related companies, a streaming and distribution service titled Moon Rise Technologies and Moon Rise Productions, which is planned to offer “film and television production” services.
Les Moonves may have been bounced from CBS, but he still seems to be living the Hollywood lifestyle. Not only has he stayed in touch with entertainment bigwigs like music mogul David Geffen—who hosted Moonves on his yacht over the holidays— but Moonves and his wife Julie Chen continue to hit their favorite hot spots frequented by Hollywood’s most powerful celebrities.
Les Moonves’ recently revealed business ventures are only surprising because he previously said he was retiring. Late last year, Moonves told a TMZ reporter “I’m retired” when he was asked if he would consider the idea of creating his own network and a possible new talk show for his wife, who exited her post on CBS’s The Talk amid her husband’s departure from the network.
But actress Alyssa Milano is not at all surprised that Les Moonves is trying to come back into the spotlight. Milano, one of the most vocal stars in the Me Too movement, told Television Critics Association reporters that people have to expect that some of the ousted Hollywood hotshots will attempt to make a career comeback.
“That’s gonna happen. We can’t expect that not to happen,” Milano told TCA reporters, per The Wrap. “We can’t put all these men on an island and say, ‘Eh, they’ll figure it out. Let them eat themselves.’ They’re going to get jobs again.”
Milano said policies need to be set down in Hollywood so women and men can feel comfortable working around fallen executives like Les Moonves as they try to revive their careers.
“If you’re funding Les Moonves, or planning on working with him, you have to have an ironclad contract that enables full due process,” Milano said.
Les Moonves left CBS in September after two New Yorker profiles penned by Ronan Farrow alleged multiple sexual misconduct allegations against him from more than a dozen women. Since that time, more Hollywood females, including Cybill Shepherd, Bobbie Phillips, and Linda Bloodworth Thomason, have come forward with allegations against Moonves.