As The Hollywood Reporter noted on February 29, CBS executive chairman, president, and CEO Leslie Moonves “can appreciate” the ad money Donald Trump's presidential campaign and his competitors bring to networks. Moonves said of the presidential election “It may not be good for America, but it's damn good for CBS.”
This is not the first time Moonves cheered Trump's political ascent in the name of advertising dollars: according to a December 10, 2015, report from The Intercept's Lee Fang, Moonves said “Go Donald! Keep getting out there! ...this is fun, watching this, let them spend money on us” during an investor presentation.
CBS is not the only network interested in the ratings Donald Trump can bring. Fox News has consistently given the candidate a disproportionate amount of coverage. Fox News spent nearly 4 hours interviewing Trump in January alone, and the candidate holds a massive lead in overall interview airtime since May 2015 (28 hours and 40 minutes, 16 hours more than any other candidate).
Experts like Hector Sánchez -- chair of the National Hispanic Leadership Agenda -- have pointed out that media's ratings-driven response to Trump could have “a deep impact in the quality of life of the Latino community.”
From The Hollywood Reporter on February 29, 2016, (emphasis added):
Leslie Moonves can appreciate a Donald Trump candidacy.
Not that the CBS executive chairman and CEO might vote for the Republican presidential frontrunner, but he likes the ad money Trump and his competitors are bringing to the network.
“It may not be good for America, but it's damn good for CBS,” he said of the presidential race.
Moonves called the campaign for president a “circus” full of “bomb throwing,” and he hopes it continues.
“Most of the ads are not about issues. They're sort of like the debates,” he said.
“Man, who would have expected the ride we're all having right now? ... The money's rolling in and this is fun,” he said.
“I've never seen anything like this, and this going to be a very good year for us. Sorry. It's a terrible thing to say. But, bring it on, Donald. Keep going,” said Moonves.
“Donald's place in this election is a good thing,” he said Monday at the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media & Telecom Conference in San Francisco.
“There's a lot of money in the marketplace,” the exec said of political advertising so far this presidential season.