Superheroes Save Hollywood’s 2018 Box Office

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After a great deal of handwringing, Hollywood is breathing a sigh of relief.

The 2018 box office showed growth, and the movie business owes its positive performance to an aggregate of superhero films.

After hyper-anxiety over the possibility that streaming entertainment was going to kill the movie theater business, Hollywood ended up raking in a record $11.9 billion in revenue last year.

The 2018 domestic box office was up 7 percent over 2017 as well as being up 4 percent when compared to 2016. The audience has grown, and although the actual number of tickets sold remains below the high mark that was set in 2002, attendance for 2018 was higher than the previous year by 4 percent.

With more than 26 percent of all domestic box-office revenue in 2018, Disney commands an unprecedented portion of the market share. CEO Bob Iger’s strategy of buying franchises and rights to superhero characters paid off enormously, and the company’s acquisition of 21st Century Fox’s entertainment assets is expected to close in the first half of 2019.

Disney’s share of the market is likely to increase in 2019, with the planned release of another “Star Wars” film and the fourth and supposedly final “Avengers” movie, as well as two animated features and three live-action versions of classic Disney tales.

Based on the 2018 box-office performance, filmgoers can expect movie studios to continue to deliver two predictable types of entertainment product in 2019: 1) additional sequels; and 2) more cinema that features costumed crusaders with super-human powers.

Of the top five box-office films of the year, four were superhero films, and amazingly the ten highest-grossing films of 2018 were either superhero movies, sequels, or both.

The top film of 2018 was the superhero offering “Black Panther,” which earned over $700 million domestically making it the third highest-grossing movie in the history of cinema. Following close behind was another superhero flick, “Avengers: Infinity War.”

The biggest take from last year’s ticket revenue arrived courtesy of the superhero genre, with four out of the top five films bringing in more than $2.3 billion. The “Spider-Man” spin-off “Venom” and “Ant-Man and The Wasp” hauled in another combined $429 million. The newly released “Aquaman” and “Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse” added an additional combined $300 million to last year’s superhero gross.

The enduring success of comic book characters that come to life begs the question: What is it about these superhero movies that draws people to the multiplex?

Family films pay the bills for Hollywood, and since parents are on an eternal quest for places to take their little ones, superhero films provide a relatively wholesome type of fare that adults and appropriately-aged children are able to enjoy together.

That the superhero phenomenon has become so deeply ingrained into the fabric of our culture suggests something more significant is occurring within the public consciousness. People instinctively long for stories in which moral tensions in plot lines are ultimately resolved in a fundamentally fair manner. Similar to the mythological gods of antiquity, superheroes possess powers and abilities that can rectify unjust situations. Superheroes also travel through storylines in which forces of good and evil have clearly marked boundaries and good generally triumphs over evil. In this fanciful realm, the universe is ordered and stability secured.

The successful releases in the superhero category typically feature characters with extraordinary powers, who, as they go about saving the world, must deal with ordinary relatable problems. When superhero characters possess an aura of authenticity, the stories surrounding them communicate a sense of hope that problems can be solved and obstacles overcome.

A study that took place in Kyoto, Japan, published in January 2017, explored attitudes of very young children toward heroic characters.

Six-month-old infants were presented with animations that depicted a character bumping into another character while a third onlooker watched from a distance. The onlooker intervened in one version and in a second version ran away.

When the infants were given the opportunity to select a real life replica of the intervening character or non-intervening character, the young subjects were more likely to choose the intervening character as opposed to the one who ran away.

The findings of the research indicate that pre-verbal six-month-old infants are able to recognize heroism, suggesting that the ability to identify a hero is an innate one.

This innate human attraction to heroism has been capitalized upon by the motion picture industry and explains, in part, the omnipresence of superhero characters in movies. Hollywood executives will soon debut even more superhero films. Scheduled for release in 2019 are Disney’s “Captain Marvel” and “Avengers: Endgame,” Sony’s “Spider-Man: Far From Home,” and Fox’s X-Men sequel, “Dark Phoenix.”

Adam McKay’s Oscar-seeking ‘Vice’

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Filmmaker Adam McKay has unleashed a cinematic hit piece just in time for Christmas.

McKay is first and foremost a comedian, whose stand-up helped him lock in a gig as head writer for “Saturday Night Live” for two seasons. He additionally formed a creative alliance with actor Will Ferrell, which opened the pathway for his directing of zany comedic romps including “Anchorman,” “Talladega Nights,” and “Step Brothers.”

One of the biggest turning points for McKay, though, came in 2015. He experienced critical acclaim and a whole lot of ataboys from his peers for his Oscar-winning movie “The Big Short.” The political dramedy about the 2008 financial crash was the winner of Best Adapted Screenplay and received four other nominations from the Academy.

Like so many modern-day stars, who have parlayed their success into full-fledged liberal activism in exchange for the secret promise of more accolades and awards, McKay’s latest outing, titled “Vice,” is a biopic of the hateful and distorted kind.

In the film, he re-writes the historical annals of Dick Cheney, who served as Secretary of Defense (1989 to 1993) during the presidency of the late President George H.W. Bush, and who went on to serve as Vice President of the United States (2001 to 2009) in the administration of former President George W. Bush.

As a self-identified Democratic socialist and an endorser of Bernie Sanders in the 2016 presidential election, McKay detests most Republicans, but he appears to have a special animus for one of Hollywood’s primary targets of vilification; that is, Cheney.

The filmmaker was seemingly intent on presenting Cheney’s rise to power from a left-wing perspective and was likely simultaneously motivated to win the affection of fellow GOP-haters within the film critic community and award granting organizations. He assembled actors from his prior successful ventures and enlisted others as well to create a project that is intended to please both film critics and Oscar voters.

To realistically portray Cheney, actor Christian Bale had to undergo a physical transformation through the use of facial prosthetics and weight gain.

Nominated five times without a win and viewed by Academy members as overdue for an award, actress Amy Adams plays Cheney’s wife Lynne. Adams’s role requires her to mature in age as she transitions from a college-years wife to a vice president’s spouse.

McKay’s strategy has already yielded awards season results. With six nominations, the liberal fictional treatment of Cheney’s life in “Vice” has resulted in the highest number of nominations in the upcoming Golden Globe awards. The movie has also garnered nine Critics’ Choice Award nominations and two Screen Actors Guild Award noms, as Oscar talk ensues.

An intriguing thing has coincided with the release of the film, though. Despite praise given for the performances of Christian Bale and Amy Adams, many establishment movie critics are expressing disappointment with the biopic and even some hostility. The critic community apparently loathes Cheney more than McKay does, and some have panned the movie for being too soft on the former vice president.

A Daily Beast review calls the film a “baffling tonal hodgepodge” that “at best marginally humanizes Dick Cheney and at worst lionizes him…” And a review in the San Francisco Chronicle states that “the failure of “Vice” is a failure on its own terms. If Cheney is really as bad as McKay believes — an empty shell of ambition, a destructive and malign force in American life — he warrants serious moral horror, not a smirky treatment that assumes, going in, that we all agree.”

Despite the fact that McKay channeled plenty of hate into “Vice,” his final cut appeared to move in two different directions. Apparently McKay’s humor background and sensibilities compelled the filmmaker to insert a sufficient amount of comedic material, but it may have served to undercut the perception by some that it met the appropriate attack mark.

McKay’s end product seems to be a conflicted work that is caught between comedy and drama, and the movie characters are thereby left without discernible motivations, floating about in a farcical superficial storyline.

Also, by presenting an all-powerful Cheney and an empty-suited Bush, the film unwittingly takes the 43rd president off the hook for the list of wrongs of which the left maintains the Bush administration is guilty.

Audiences get their first glimpse of the former vice president as a heavy drinker and brawler, who is expelled from Yale. He is being cajoled by his wife Lynn into changing his life.

Soon a revved up ambitious Cheney works for a future Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, who is portrayed in an overly cavalier manner by Steve Carell. Cheney learns the political ropes from Rumsfeld and ends up conning the clueless caricature of G.W., played with zero depth by Sam Rockwell.

The “Vice” version of Cheney easily persuades the supposedly simpleton GOP nominee Bush into an arrangement that hands excessive power over to Cheney, allowing him to be the de-facto leader of the free world. Soon enough Cheney and his cadre of neo-cons slowly take over the reins of the presidency.

Although the movie starts out by informing the audience via an onscreen message that “Vice” is a “true story,” people in the know, including former Bush Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and former Undersecretary of Homeland Security Michael Brown, have pointed out that the film’s central theme of Cheney being the so-called man behind the curtain that called the shots for a feckless president is plain old fiction.

Tim Allen: Liberals Have a ‘Very Small Window of Sense of Humor’

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In a recent interview with IndieWire, film and television star Tim Allen reacted to the astounding success of his current TV sitcom “Last Man Standing.”

During the interview, the actor provided some insight into his approach to comedy writing and delivery, particularly his use of humor directed at left-of-center ideology.

“I think it’s funny to make fun of people that are full of themselves. Liberals have a very small window of sense of humor about themselves, so I love poking at it,” Allen said.

Allen brought up a current practice in which many liberals routinely engage; that is, the avoidance of rational debate via the mallet of identity politics.

“[R]ight now liberals, particularly progressives, hide behind large concepts,” Allen noted. “If you don’t agree with them, if you don’t agree with that position, then you hate women, and you hate gay people, and you hate pro-choice people…”

Revealing a bit about the motivation behind his style of humor, Allen said, “I like p***ing people off,” adding that “…there’s nothing, especially in this area, that p***es people off more than a very funny conservative.”

“A smart, funny conservative that takes shots and is certainly self-effacing. The left-wing point of view is so pervasive that they don’t even realize it’s a point of view,” Allen said.

Allen’s show is in its seventh season, having enjoyed six successful seasons, until ABC inexplicably canceled it and Fox brought it back. The Fox network picked up “Last Man Standing” and has been running away with it in the ratings. The actor has rightly questioned whether ABC chose to get rid of the successful sitcom because of Allen’s personal political positions, an explanation that is certainly within the realm of possibility.

“When we knew Tim was up for doing it, we jumped at the chance,” Fox Entertainment President Michael Thorn said. “He’s obviously a huge TV star, and we felt the show could resonate for our audience.”

Helping with the decision was the huge ratings success of the reboot “Roseanne.” It was certainly not lost on the Fox executives that both shows were family-oriented comedies, with lead characters that possess conservative political views.

Ironically, “Roseanne” was also canceled by ABC. And ABC Entertainment President Channing Dungey, who terminated sitcom star Roseanne Barr, is now on her way out amid ABC corporate parent Disney’s pending acquisition of 21st Century Fox and the planned reorganization of Disney television.

Adding to ABC’s headaches is the fact that the replacement series for “Roseanne,” “The Conners,” is tanking in the ratings. The network has committed to only one additional episode, sparking rumors that the show may be canceled. Additionally, it has been reported that two of the shows stars, John Goodman and Laurie Metcalf, have been asked to take a pay cut.

Meanwhile with “Last Man Standing” Fox is basking in the sunlight of sitcom success. The show’s Sept. 28 debut was Fox’s most-watched Friday telecast in 18 years, with a whopping 2.7 rating among adults 18-49 and 12.4 million multi-platform viewers. Fox has been at the top in the difficult Friday night lineup for six weeks, its longest streak in more than seven years.

“I certainly bumped into a number of people who had never seen the show when it was on ABC, that had found it in syndication. So I was hoping it would get maybe a little bit of boost. I did not expect that number,” Allen said.

Reportedly, Fox plans to place “WWE Smackdown” on Fridays next year, so “Last Man Standing” will likely move to a mid-week spot next season. Until then you can still catch it on Fridays at 8 p.m. on Fox.

In an age of cord cutting and streaming entertainment, Allen still sees advantages in traditional broadcasting. The actor loves the ability of traditional broadcast television to be capable of incorporating current events and issues into the programming. He refers to this attribute as “fresh television.”

“I think eventually, you come back to broadcast television,” Allen said. “This isn’t streaming. Streaming to me is processed food. You don’t know when that was made, you don’t know, there’s no expiration date on it. This stuff was made recently. You get ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, and to all of us on broadcast, we’re doing this right now. This is fresh television.”

Megyn Kelly’s Legal Battle Ensnares NBC News Chair Andy Lack

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It looks like Megyn Kelly is playing hardball with the Peacock network.

Her television show “Megyn Kelly Today” was summarily canceled a short two days after a controversial episode of the show aired on NBC.

The episode in question contained an anecdote told by Kelly, which many found offensive and consequently set the social media ablaze.

“What is racist?” Kelly asked a panel. “You truly do get in trouble if you are a white person who puts on blackface at Halloween or a black person who puts on whiteface … That was OK when I was a kid, as long as you were dressing like a character.”

The social media backlash that ensued caused Kelly to be tried and convicted on the Internet of racism.

NBC personality Al Roker made it a point to weigh-in against the former Fox News anchor, saying, “The fact is while she [Kelly] apologized to the staff, she owes a bigger apology to folks of color around the country.”

Possibly believing that she could make things right, at the opening of the subsequent show Kelly offered an emotional apology and received a standing ovation from the in-studio audience. In addition to the public apology, she sent a contrite letter to her colleagues.

The apology and letter were essentially ignored by NBC News brass. NBC News Chairman Andy Lack slammed Kelly’s on-air comments during a town hall event that he held for news division staff.

Various sources told several media outlets that discussions about ending Kelly’s show had taken place prior to the “blackface” remarks. Some of these sources told US Weekly that NBC management had been looking for an opportune excuse to get rid of Kelly, due to her aggressive coverage of the #MeToo movement that included segments dealing with NBC scandals.

Kelly had covered Matt Lauer and Tom Brokaw’s alleged sexual misconduct, giving NBC executives, which included Lack, a motive to want her time at the network to end.

A Lauer accuser, Addie Zinone, appeared as a guest on Kelly’s show. With regard to Brokaw, Kelly was not counted among the women who had pledged to support him after Variety and the Washington Post released reports of his alleged sexual harassment of former NBC and Fox News correspondent Linda Vester. Kelly was also vocal in her call for an independent legal investigation of Lack himself, regarding the alleged spiking of Ronan Farrow’s coverage of Harvey Weinstein.

Kelly has now signaled that she will fully engage in a legal battle with NBC as she negotiates an exit from her contract. Presently, she has left Creative Artists Agency because of a potential conflict, since the agency also represents NBC News President Noah Oppenheim. She has also hired experienced entertainment business trial lawyer Bryan Freedman, one of Hollywood’s top talent-side litigators.

Freedman shrewdly requested that Farrow sit in on the NBC meeting concerning Kelly’s departure. Kelly’s attorney is undoubtedly aware of the fact that Lack’s news division has been under scrutiny for refusing to air Farrow’s reporting on Hollywood producer Weinstein’s sexual misconduct.

Kelly’s negotiating leverage regarding her exit package appears to be enhanced since Lack, who was a major player in Kelly’s firing, is now on the hot seat.

Unfortunately for the chairman and his network, Lack has had a series of problems that have amassed under his leadership, including the following:

-During Lack’s tenure, Farrow left NBC News in the midst of his investigation of Weinstein’s sexual misconduct. The journalist claimed he “was being blocked from further reporting.”

-Lack oversaw the scandal over MSNBC personality Joy Reid’s discredited claim that before she became well known, hackers had planted homophobic slurs on her blog.

-Lack was in charge when NBC News waited almost a month before it finally revealed evidence that discredited allegations made by lawyer Michael Avenatti’s client Julie Swetnick against now-Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

NBC News knew that a witness, who Avenatti claimed had corroborated Swetnick’s allegations, had accused him of “twisting” her words and in essence recanted her testimony. The network has not put this particular scandal behind it, since Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley has referred both Avenatti and Swetnick to the Department of Justice for criminal investigation relating to the issuing of false statements to the Committee.

-Perhaps most importantly, Lack is the executive who is responsible for negotiating Kelly’s 3-year $69 million contract.

Concerns Rise at ABC as ‘Roseanne’ Spin-off Debut Draws Near

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Executives at ABC are reportedly feeling somewhat remorseful and perhaps a tad guilty about the removal a few months back of lead star Roseanne Barr from the hit series “Roseanne” over a controversial tweet that she had posted.

The apprehension currently taking place is due in part to the imminent first episode airing of what is essentially the “Roseanne” television show minus its lead star Barr.

Renamed “The Conners,” the sitcom keeps intact most of the same characters, settings, and storylines of the original, but the revised version has a major missing element, that being Barr herself, who in addition to being the show’s main character served as executive producer and co-writer.

Even prior to her career-changing tweet, media figures were criticizing the show because Barr’s character, like Barr herself, was an avid supporter of President Donald Trump.

It was only a few hours after news of her tweet went public that Barr was summarily dismissed. The termination occurred in May 2018, just three months following the show’s hugely successful premiere.

The UK Daily Mail recently quoted two senior ABC executives, who indicated to the newspaper that some doubts and trepidation exist regarding “The Conners” and acknowledged that terminating Barr was a rushed decision by Ben Sherwood, Disney Media Networks Co-Chairman and President of Disney-ABC Television, and Channing Dungey, President of the ABC Entertainment Group.

“We didn’t think it through properly,” one of the executives said. “What Roseanne did was wrong but we shouldn’t have rushed to fire her. It was almost a knee-jerk reaction by Ben and Channing who should have launched an investigation.”

According to the executive, an investigation “would have given them more time to listen to the public, advertisers, and cast members to determine the best decision.”

After the network announced the cancellation of Barr’s series, the mainstream media and liberals en masse praised ABC for acting quickly. However, many entertainment business professionals raised questions about why alternatives to complete termination were not offered, such as a temporary hiatus from the show.

“They could’ve suspended her from the first few episodes without pay and had her return later on in the season. I mean the season finale saw Roseanne going to the hospital for knee surgery,” an ABC executive said.

The exec noted that Barr’s fate could have been determined during the period in which her television character faced serious health complications and was struggling to survive. This would also have given Barr the opportunity to restore her career and personal reputation with select media appearances.

According to an ABC executive, on the day that her tweet made headlines Barr had “offered to publicly apologize and do the rounds of every show, but Ben and Channing weren’t having any of that and wanted her gone.”

“Roseanne kept saying on the call before she was fired, ‘What can I do? What can I do?’”

The source indicated that the writers could have written the Twitter controversy into the sitcom to allow the show and star to obtain public forgiveness.

“Fans of her show have watched her character confront prejudice and racism – we could’ve made this a storyline for her to save the show and redeem her publicly.”

Based on feedback from marketing and publicity professionals who are working on “The Conners,” ABC executives may have good reason to be apprehensive about the show’s fast-approaching debut.

The marketing and PR people for the show are apparently “horrified” since, as one of the ABC executives revealed, “No matter what promotional material is released…Roseanne’s fans come out in force stating that they won’t watch the show.”

According to the Daily Mail, top brass at ABC are also aware that posts on social media platforms align strongly against the idea of viewing a show without Barr.

“The comments on social media tend to skew in favor of Roseanne and slam ‘The Conners’ and the cast members who came back. Even dedicated fans of the Conner family feel conflicted about supporting a show that so swiftly eliminated the show’s matriarch and creator,” an ABC executive said.

Upon her exit, Barr agreed to have no creative or financial ties with the new series.

It is likely that ABC executives are experiencing regret over another hasty decision that was made by the television network, this being the one made to cancel Tim Allen’s hit comedy “Last Man Standing” after six successful seasons. Interestingly, Allen’s character, like Allen himself, is also a supporter of President Trump.

With a lateral shift to the FOX television network, “Last Man Standing” currently enjoys even better ratings than it had at ABC. In fact, the sitcom is FOX’s most-watched comedy in almost seven years.

Typically, a change in networks fails to give a television show an increase in its audience size. However, FOX’s premiere of “Last Man Standing” drew 8 million viewers, with an astounding 1.8 rating among adults 18-49.

“Standing”‘s season 7 premiere came in at much bigger numbers than the show’s season 6 premiere last fall on ABC, when it was only able to draw 5.9 million viewers and snag a 1.1 rating.

For three weeks straight now, the FOX comedy has dominated the difficult Friday prime time ratings and holds a commanding 1.4 rating for the coveted younger demographic.

Meanwhile ABC and its senior executives have had to endure abysmal ratings for the network’s entire Friday prime time lineup, which consists of soon-to-be-cancelled sitcoms “Fresh Off the Boat” (0.5 rating), “Speechless” (0.5 rating), and “Child Support” (0.4 rating).

Les Moonves’s Career at CBS Comes to an End

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In July of 2018, the New Yorker’s Ronan Farrow completed a detailed investigation, centering on sexual misconduct allegations from six women against CBS Chairman and CEO Les Moonves.

The women claimed that Moonves had propositioned and/or had forcible physical contact with them, threatened retaliation against those who had rejected him, and otherwise maintained a workplace in which sexual harassment went unabated.

Allegations put forth by the women suggested that a toxic culture existed at CBS. When the allegations went public, Moonves responded at the time with an acknowledgement that he was responsible for making “some women uncomfortable.” However, he denied claims that he had harmed the careers of those who had resisted him.

It looked as though Moonves was on his way to weathering the #MeToo storm. CBS had launched an investigation into the allegations in Farrow’s report. However, Moonves was allowed to remain on the job while the investigation of sexual misconduct proceeded, unlike many other figures who had been accused of sexual impropriety.

Then, like a series of aftershocks after an earthquake, an additional six women stepped forward, via reporting by Farrow, with accusations against Moonves.

The most recent alleged incidents of sexual misconduct purportedly took place over a span of 30 years from the 1980s to the early 2000s.

The additional claims against Moonves by the second group of women contain more serious allegations than those reported by Farrow earlier in the year. This latest set of allegations includes incidents in which the entertainment executive is alleged to have forced victims to engage in sexual activity, exposed himself to alleged victims, or used physical violence and intimidation against them. Some of the women also claim that Moonves retaliated against them professionally after they refused to comply.

Some of the more recent accusers have chosen to go on the record and shed their anonymity, including a television executive whose claims date back to the 1980s and a former assistant who recounted an incident from 1994.

In a statement to the New Yorker, Moonves acknowledged that three of the encounters occurred and claimed they were consensual. He flatly denied using his position in a retaliatory way to interfere with the careers of the women.

Under the circumstances, options appear to be limited in this case. The relevant statute of limitations does not allow a proceeding using criminal law, and obtaining witnesses and/or documents from thirty or forty years ago poses a great deal of difficulty.

What really caused Moonves’s tenure at CBS to end, prior to the conclusion of the investigations, were reports in numerous media outlets that negotiations were taking place concerning a proposed exit package for the television executive that involved a large dollar amount.

The most recent accusers were prompted in part to come forward due to the public reports of Moonves’s exit package, which was said to be valued at approximately $100 million.

“Many of the women found that very, very frustrating,” Farrow told CNN. “They felt this was a board that has let a powerful man who makes a lot of money for this company, in the words of one person, ‘get away with it.’”

The end result is that six weeks after Farrow published the first allegations against him and twenty-three years after he first joined CBS, Moonves has been forced out of the network.

However, the previously reported $100 million payment package to Moonves is likely to be eliminated or drastically reduced, due to the increased potential culpability relating to the allegations of the second group of women as well as the cumulative effect of the allegations of all twelve accusers.

CBS’s leverage against Moonves has been significantly increased because the company is now able to claim that the executive may be terminated “for cause.”

Significantly, the exit agreement reportedly also includes a settlement of the litigation between Moonves and Shari Redstone, the controlling shareholder of both CBS and Viacom. Moonves and Redstone had been in a heated legal battle over whether to combine CBS and Viacom, with Redstone urging a merger and Moonves resisting such a move.

With Moonves gone, the merger is highly likely to take place in the very near future.

Sexual Misconduct Allegations against Les Moonves Stun Hollywood

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Ronan Farrow, who already won a Pulitzer Prize for breaking the Harvey Weinstein story, has now unveiled another detailed account, which involves alleged sexual misconduct on the part of the singular most powerful and influential media executive in the world, Les Moonves.

According to Farrow’s New Yorker article, six women accuse the chairman and CEO of CBS Corporation of various forms of sexual harassment and intimidation, and dozens more claim that they suffered abuse at the company as well.

Farrow’s piece also documents a culture of sexual harassment at CBS, focusing specifically on CBS News, the former employer of another figure who had a career end due to sexual misconduct allegations, Charlie Rose.

The account by Farrow includes allegations of physical intimidation and threats to derail careers, which took place during the mid-1980s through 2006.

Among the accusers is actress Illeana Douglas, who claims that, when she attended a 1997 meeting with Moonves, he “violently” kissed her while holding her down.

“The physicality of it was horrendous,” Douglas said.

The CBS board of directors indicated in a statement that it would investigate any allegations of misconduct and further indicated that the claims would “be taken seriously.”

Moonves himself acknowledged in a statement that he “may have made some women uncomfortable by making advances.” He expressed immense regret for what he characterized as “mistakes.” However, he otherwise denied all of the claims in Farrow’s story.

Farrow’s article also contains sexual harassment allegations against a group of CBS News executives, including the former head of the news division and current executive producer of “60 Minutes” Jeff Fager. According to Farrow, CBS News executives were promoted, despite allegations of sexual misconduct that ended in settlements. Fager also responded that the allegations against him are false.

Moonves, according to Forbes, has a net worth of $700 million and is one of the highest paid CEOs, with a yearly compensation of close to $70 million.

The CBS head has been in a public tug-of-war with Shari Redstone, who has been urging CBS to merge with Viacom following the current media consolidation trend. Redstone owns a controlling 80 percent stake in CBS and Viacom via her family company.

Moonves has resisted Redstone’s proposal and has done so in court. In May 2018 CBS filed a lawsuit in an attempt to prevent a merger of the network with Viacom, accusing Redstone of breaching her fiduciary duty to CBS shareholders. The case is set for trial in October 2018.

From Redstone’s perspective, as well-heeled tech firms have bought into the entertainment space, studios have sought to merge with telecommunications companies, including ATT/TimeWarner and Comcast/Universal, and other entertainment media concerns, e.g., Disney and Fox.

Moonves has led CBS to a number one spot with regard to a broadcast network and a transformed it into a very profitable company. The success is primarily due to Moonves’s uncanny ability to pick winning television programming. He is, after all, the individual who when serving as president of Warner Bros. Television, green-lighted “Friends” and “ER.” And during his tenure at CBS, “Big Bang Theory,” “Everybody Loves Raymond,” “Survivor,” and “CSI” were launched.

The CBS head is concerned that revenues at Viacom have been headed downward and a move to combine companies would hurt earnings.

The litigation as well as the outcome of the trial, coupled with the sexual misconduct claims, are placing Moonves’s career in jeopardy. If the allegations are deemed by the board to be genuine, it is highly likely Moonves will be asked to step down, which, in turn will make it more probable that Redstone will be able to obtain her goal of a recombined CBS/Viacom.

Some media outlets have questioned the timing of the sexual misconduct charges, which have occurred not only in the middle of the company’s public legal dispute but two weeks ahead of the annual shareholder meeting and mere months before the trial begins.

This has led to Redstone’s representative releasing a statement, which puts forth a denial that Redstone had any involvement with the release of Farrow’s report.

“The malicious insinuation that Ms. Redstone is somehow behind the allegations of inappropriate personal behavior by Mr. Moonves or today’s reports is false and self-serving,” the statement read.

Ironically, Moonves has been a vocal supporter of the #MeToo movement and is a founding member of the Commission on Sexual Harassment and Advancing Equality in the Workplace, which was formed in late 2017 and is headed up by Justice Clarence Thomas’s chief accuser, Anita Hill.