CBS Entertainment Chief: She Could've Danced All Night

CBS Entertainment President Nina Tassler, who's been on the job less than a year, handled critics' questions like a pro  --  which is to say she artfully tap-danced around most of them.
CBS Entertainment President Nina Tassler, who's been on the job less than a year, handled critics' questions like a pro -- which is to say she artfully tap-danced around most of them. (By John Filo -- Cbs Via Reuters)

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By Lisa de Moraes
Wednesday, July 20, 2005

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif., July 19

For reasons we don't clearly understand, chicks who become suits in the TV industry are constitutionally incapable of giving straight answers to TV critics' questions.

On the other hand, they're beautiful to watch as they dance around them.

Take CBS Entertainment President Nina Tassler, performing solo for the first time Tuesday during the CBS executive session at Summer TV Press Tour 2005.

Usually, the Women of Viacom TV, including Tassler (who replaced Nancy Tellem when she was upped to president of CBS Paramount Network Television Entertainment Group) and UPN chief Dawn Ostroff, do a pas de deux with Leslie Moonves, CBS CEO and Viacom co-chief operating officer, during these network executive Q&A sessions.

This time, he wasn't joining them. Critics love Moonves. He's not much of a dancer, but he can answer a question like nobody's business.

On the other hand, Tassler, who's been on the job a mere 10 months, already is one of the best dancers the TV industry has ever produced. One of her most graceful bits came when a critic asked where CBS would draw the line on "how much mayhem you can cause to the poor victims" on procedural crime dramas. (If you've ever watched an episode of "CSI," you know what he was talking about.)

"We look to our audience to tell us when they've had enough," Tassler pirouetted. Plus, she said, there are "different crime elements represented in each different show" with "different looks" and "different tones" and "different styles."

"There is something for everybody, and the audience seems to be on board," she explained.

"But have you reached the point of telling the producers to dial back a little bit and maybe not cut the head off or light the body on fire?" asked the persistent critic.

"We trust our producers to be creative in their storytelling and follow their creative path," Tassler tapped.

"So you haven't admonished them at this point?"


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© 2005 The Washington Post Company

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