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CNBC Exclusive: CNBC Transcript: CNBC's David Faber Speaks with CBS Corporation President & CEO Leslie Moonves

WHEN: Today, Wednesday, September 10th

WHERE: CNBC's "Closing Bell"

Following is the unofficial transcript of a CNBC EXCLUSIVE interview with CBS Corporation President & CEO Leslie Moonves on CNBC's "Closing Bell" today. Following are links to the interview on CNBC.com: http://video.cnbc.com/gallery/?video=3000309563 and http://video.cnbc.com/gallery/?video=3000309295.

All references must be sourced to CNBC.

KELLY EVANS: WELCOME BACK. IT'S A BIG WEEK FOR CBS CHIEF LES MOONVES. TOMORROW NIGHT IS THE NETWORK'S FIRST THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL BROADCAST. A DEAL WITH THE NFL THAT MOONVES WAS DIRECTLY INVOLVED IN MAKING AND TOMORROW NIGHT'S GAME HAPPENS TO INCLUDE THE BALTIMORE RAVENS, A TEAM, OF COURSE, EMBROILED IN THE RAY RICE CONTROVERSY.

BILL GRIFFETH: BUT HE ALSO DID LET GO OF THE U.S. TENNIS OPEN WHICH I'M SURE DAVID FABER WILL ASK HIM ABOUT. BECAUSE DAVID JOINS US NOW TO SIT DOWN EXCLUSIVELY WITH CBS PRESIDENT AND CEO LES MOONVES. DAVID?

DAVID FABER: YES. THANK YOU. WE CAN TALK FOOTBALL, U.S. OPEN. I WANT TO START OFF THOUGH LESLIE MOONVES THANK YOU FOR BEING HERE OF COURSE.

LESLIE MOONVES: MY PLEASURE.

FABER: WITH RATINGS, YOU STARTED YOUR CONVERSATION AT YOUR PRESENTATION ON RATINGS AND, YOU KNOW, THEY'RE DOWN ACROSS THE BOARD FOR IT SEEMS VIRTUALLY EVERYBODY WHO MAKES PROGRAMS THAT PEOPLE WATCH ON TV. IS THIS A LONG-TERM TREND OR ARE THEY NOT BEING MEASURED PROPERLY?

MOONVES: WELL, I THINK -- I THINK WE'RE LOOKING AT THE WORLD A VERY DIFFERENT WAY THAN WE DID BEFORE. PEOPLE ARE STILL JUDGING IT FROM OVERNIGHT RATINGS AND THE TRUTH OF THE MATTER IS NOW WE'RE MEASURED IN A C-7 UNIVERSE WHEREBY YOU HAVE TO COUNT PEOPLE WHO ARE WATCHING THE SHOW THE NEXT DAY OR EVEN THE NEXT WEEK. SO, MORE AND MORE VIEWING IS GOING ON ONLINE, DVRs ALL SORTS OF OTHER PLACES SO I DON'T THINK IT'S BEING COUNTED PROPERLY. I DON'T THINK IT'S REPORTED PROPERLY.

FABER: ALL RIGHT SO DOES THAT MEAN YOU HAVE AN ISSUE WITH NIELSEN? BY THE WAY YOU WOULDN'T BE THE FIRST CEO OF A MAJOR MEDIA COMPANY TO HAVE AN ISSUE WITH NIELSEN.

MOONVES: NO BY THE WAY WE HAVE WON THE LAST 11 SEASONS SO AS I LIKE TO SAY THE WINNING TEAM DOESN'T ARGUE WITH THE REFEREE. YOU KNOW? SO WE HAVE NO PROBLEM WITH NIELSEN. NIELSEN HAS MOVED VERY QUICKLY TO GET THESE ONLINE VIEWERS, TO GET VIEWERS FROM DVRs AND TO COUNT THE APPROPRIATE AMOUNT OF PEOPLE. ARE THEY THERE 100%? NOT YET. BUT THEY'RE SOON DOING THAT AND AS SOON AS THAT'S ALL DONE, YOU'LL SEE JUST AS MANY PEOPLE WATCHING TELEVISION AS EVER BEFORE.

FABER: REALLY, IF I LOOK AT THE YEAR OVER YEAR, THEN I AM GOING TO START TO SEE INCREASE OR FLAT?

MOONVES: I BELIEVE WHEN YOU LOOK AT OUR RATINGS AT THE END OF THE YEAR, IF EVERYTHING IS COUNTED IN, YOU WILL SEE AT LEAST FLAT AND POSSIBLY AN INCREASE.

FABER: WHEN ARE THEY GOING TO GET AROUND TO BEING ABLE TO ACTUALLY DO THAT EFFECTIVELY?

MOONVES: THEY'RE GETTING THERE QUICKLY. I EXPECT IT FAIRLY SHORTLY. I'M NOT SURE EXACTLY WHEN. BUT NIELSEN HAS IMPROVED IMMENSELY THEY'VE CAUGHT UP. LOOK. THEY'RE THE ONLY MEASURING STICK WE HAVE AND WE SWEAR BY THEM.

FABER: BE NICE IF THERE WAS ANOTHER MEASURING STICK.

MOONVES: THAT'S THE WAY THE WORLD IS.

FABER: ARE YOU GOING TO WIN IT AGAIN?

MOONVES: ARE WE GOING TO WIN IT AGAIN? NO PREDICTIONS. BUT I THINK WITH THURSDAY FOOTBALL WE SHOULD BE STRONGER THAN BEFORE. I THINK WE HAVE A VERY GOOD CHANCE OF WINNING IT AGAIN.

FABER: YOU MENTIONED FOOTBALL. YOU'RE GOING DOWN, I BELIEVE, TO THE GAME.

MOONVES: CORRECT.

FABER: SOME ISSUES RIGHT NOW, OF COURSE, CONTROVERSY INVOLVING RAY RICE. MORE SO ALSO THE RESPONSE OF THE COMMISSIONER.

MOONVES: RIGHT.

FABER: YOU'VE GOT A LONG-TERM RELATIONSHIP WITH THIS LEAGUE THAT IS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT TO CBS. ARE YOU CONCERNED AT ALL?

MOONVES: YES, IT IS. LOOK. WE HAVE A LONG-TERM DEAL. NO, I'M NOT CONCERNED. LOOK. I THINK THE COMMISIONER BY HIS OWN ADMISSION HE WAS WAY TOO LENIENT WITH THE TWO GAME SUSPENSION AND I THINK HE CORRECTED HIMSELF FAIRLY SHORTLY THEREAFTER AND I THINK HE TOOK THE APPROPRIATE ACTION. HE IS NOW SUSPENDED INDEFINITELY. THE RAVENS CUT HIM FROM THE TEAM. IT WAS HORRIFIC. IT WAS HORRIBLE TO SEE. IT WAS HORRIBLE TO HEAR ABOUT. BUT THE NFL IS STILL AN IMPORTANT PART OF AMERICA. IT'S STILL AN IMPORTANT PART OF CBS.

FABER: IT CERTAINLY IS. NOT JUST ON SUNDAY BUT NOW ON THURSDAY.

MOONVES: NOW ON THURSDAY. TWICE A WEEK.

FABER: FOR I THINK NINE --

MOONVES: EIGHT GAMES. EIGHT GAMES.

FABER: YOU HAPPY WITH THAT DEAL? PEOPLE SAID YOU PAID AN AWFUL LOT FOR IT. AND OBVIOUSLY THE NFL NETWORK BENEFITS FROM IT AS WELL.

MOONVES: I LOVE THAT DEAL. I'D EXTEND THAT DEAL TODAY FOR TEN MORE YEARS IF I COULD.

FABER: WHY?

MOONVES: WE'RE GOING TO MAKE A PROFIT ON IT AND IN ADDITION HAVING THURSDAY NIGHT TIGHTENS OUR SCHEDULE, TIGHTENS OUR AD INVENTORY. ENABLES US TO MOVE THE BIG BANG THEORY FOR THE FIRST SIX WEEKS OF THE SEASON OVER TO MONDAY NIGHT WHICH STRENGTHENS THAT NIGHT. AND WE'LL HAVE MORE ORIGINALS THROUGHOUT THE SEASON SO WE THINK HAVING THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL IS A GRAND SLAM HOME RUN. AND WE'RE VERY PROUD WE HAVE IT.

FABER: AND I MEAN, OBVIOUSLY, YOU'VE GOT ANOTHER NINE YEARS TO GO ON THIS DEAL, RIGHT?

MOONVES: CORRECT.

FABRE: YOU BELIEVE THIS LEAGUE WILL BE ABLE TO MAINTAIN IF NOT INCREASE ITS VALUE OVER THAT TIME?

MOONVES: THE NFL IS PROVEN TO BE THE BEST THING THERE IS IN TELEVISION. THAT'S WHY PEOPLE ARE PAYING SO MUCH MONEY AND YET WE STILL MAKE A PROFIT. THE NFL IS BASICALLY INVINCIBLE. THE NUMBERS KEEP GOING UP JUST ABOUT EVERY YEAR. THE PRODUCT IS SOMETHING PEOPLE CAN'T GET ENOUGH OF. I'M REALLY HAPPY WE HAVE A LONG-TERM DEAL WITH THE NFL. WE HAD OUR OPENING SUNDAY, THIS PAST SUNDAY. IT WAS THE LARGEST OPENING SUNDAY FOR US IN 16 YEARS. SO, THERE'S STILL GREAT DEMAND FOR TELEVISION FOR NFL.

FABER: AND DEMAND FOR TELEVISION OVERALL BY THOSE WHO ADVERTISE ON IT, ONE OF THE KEY CONCERNS HERE IF YOU WILL IN THE HALLWAYS IS ALWAYS GOING TO BE THE AD MARKET WHEN YOU GET A BUNCH OF MEDIA CEOs IN ONE PLACE. DIGITAL SIPHONING OFF IS ALWAYS A KEY THEME WE HEARA ABOUT BUT YOU KNOW THERE WAS A SOFTER UPFRONT. MANY SAY, WELL, IT IS JUST GOING TO GO TO THE SCATTER MARKET. BUT ARE YOU CONCERNED THAT ADVERTISING PRICING IS SOFT?

MOONVES: NOT REALLY. YOU KNOW, OUR UP FRONT WAS DOWN IN TERMS OF VOLUME. 4% OR 5%. BUT CPMs WERE UP MID SINGLE DIGITS SO TO SAY OH WE HAVE TO SELL 70 -- 25% VERSUS 21% OF OUR INVENTORY IN SCATTER DOESN'T WORRY US AT ALL. IN 11 OF THE LAST 12 YEARS, I BELIEVE IT IS, SCATTER PRICING HAS BEEN HIGHER THAN THE UPFRONT PRICING SO TO SELL A FEW PERCENT MORE, HAVING THE SCHEDULE WE HAVE, I'M VERY EXCITED ABOUT THE YEAR. ONCE AGAIN, IN EVERY MARKETPLACE, THERE ARE WINNERS AND LOSERS. AS I SAID, VERY PLEASED WITH THE CPMs AND THE VOLUME WAS DOWN VERY LITTLE.

FABER: SO IS IT THE NEW NORMALTHOUGH THAT YOU ARE GOING TO JUST SELL LESS IN THE UPFRONT?

MOONVES: PROBABLY. YOU KNOW WHAT? I'VE BEEN DOING THIS A LONG TIME. THERE ARE GOOD YEARS. WE SOLD UP TO 80% AND THERE ARE YEARS YOU SELL 65% SO SELLING MID-70s, NOT BAD. NOT BAD. WE'RE PLEASED WITH THAT.

FABER: YOU'RE NOT REALLY SEEING SIGNIFICANT SOFTNESS. YOU AND I HAVE DONE INTERVIEWS FOR MANY YEARS THERE HAVE BEEN PERIODS WHERE, OBVIOUSLY, THINGS WERE NOT GREAT. YOU HAVE ADMITTED THAT.

MOONVES: IT IS TOO EARLY THE SEASON BEGINS IN A WEEK AND A HALF. AS I'VE SAID AT THE NETWORK WE'VE SOLD OUR INVENTORY FOR THE UPFRONT AND THEN THE SCATTER IS SOLD WHEN THE SEASON BEGINS. TOMORROW NIGHT WE BEGIN FOOTBALL. A WEEK FROM SUNDAY WE BEGIN THE REGULAR SEASON THAT'S WHEN THE SCATTER WILL COME INTO PLAY AND THAT'S WHEN I WILL SEE IF THERE'S REAL SOFTNESS.

FABER: SCALE. YOU AND I HAVE HAD THIS CONVERSATION TO A CERTAIN EXTENT, OF COURSE, IN A YEAR THAT HAS FEATURED OUR PARENT COMPANY COMCAST AND A POTENTIAL ACQUISITION OF TIME WARNER CABLE NOT TO MENTION AT&T BUYING DIRECTV. IT CAME UP A LOT WHEN TIME WARNER WAS IN PLAY, SO TO SPEAK OR WHEN FOX WAS AT LEAST TRYING TO BUY IT, YOU FEEL YOU'RE BIG ENOUGH?

MOONVES: I ABSOLUTELY DO. LOOK. WE FEEL VERY COMPLETE. WE LOVE OUR ASSETS. WE HAVE CBS, SHOWTIME, SIMON AND SCHUSTER, A LOT OF TELEVISION AND RADIO STATIONS. NOBODY CAN EXIST WITHOUT THE CBS CONTENT ON THEIR AIR. YES, COMCAST IS GOING TO GET BIGGER. AT&T GOING TO GET BIGGER. WE ARE GOING TO HAVE TO NEGOTIATE WITH BOTH OF THEM. THEY CAN'T LIVE WITHOUT OUR CONTENT. THEY CAN'T LIVE WITHOUT THE NFL, THEY CAN'T LIVE WITHOUT "THE BIG BANG THEORY" THEY CAN'T LIVE WITHOUT NCIS

FABRE: ARE YOU GOING TO BE ABLE TO ADMINISTER THAT BEATDOWN YOU DID TO TIME WARNER CABLE WHEN IT IS A PART OF COMCAST IF IT COMES THROUGH?

MOONVES: WELL COMCAST IS GOING TO BE A LITTLE BIGGER AND STRONGER THAN TIME WARNER CABLE WAS BUT BRIAN ROBERTS AND I HAVE ALWAYS BEEN ABLE TO WORK OUT A DEAL AND I ASSUME WE WILL IN THE FUTURE AS WELL.

FABER: SOMETHING THAT'S BEEN KIND OF AROUND AND NOT THAT THIS IS ANY CHANCE OF HAPPENING BUT I WOULD BE CURIOUS TO HEAR. VIACOM AND CBS GETTING BACK TOGETHER?

MOONVES: I HIGHLY DOUBT IT. VIACOM IS VERY SUCCESSFUL. CBS IS SUCCESSFUL. BOTH THRIVING ARE INDEPENDENTLY. I EXPECT THEY WANT TO STAY APART AS DO WE. SO I DON'T EXPECT TO SEE ANYTHING LIKE THAT HAPPENING.

FABER: STILL HAVE THAT SAME CONTROLLING SHAREHOLDER, TOO, RIGHT?

MOONVES: WE STILL HAVE THE SAME CONTROLLING SHAREHOLDER.

FABER: ON THE PORTFOLIO, WE SPOKE ON THE DAY THAT OUTDOOR WENT PUBLIC. THAT IS SINCE BEEN --

MOONVES: SPUN OUT.

FABER: SPUN OUT.

MOONVES: YES.

FABER: WHEN I LOOK AT THE PORTFOLIO, THE ONE THING THAT MAYBE STANDS OUT IS RADIO. AND SOME SAY AT SOME POINT IS THAT POTENTIALLY THE LAST PIECE THAT YOU MIGHT CONSIDER? WELL SIMON AND SCHUSTER ALSO SELLING.

MOONBES: YOU KNOW WHAT WE OWN 127 SOME ODD RADIO STATIONS. I THINK YOU MIGHT SEE US TRY TO TRIM DOWN RADIO IN THAT SOME OF OUR RADIO STATIONS AREN'T IN MAJOR MARKETS. WE STILL BELIEVE IN RADIO. IT IS A SLOW GROWTH RADIO. NOT AS FAST AS SOME OF OUR OTHER BUSINESSES. WE LIKE IT. BUT AS I SAID, YOU MIGHT SEE A REDUCTION IN THE NUMBER OF RADIO STATIONS THAT WE HAVE.

FABER: BUT NOT NECESSARILY FIGURING OUT A WAY TO EITHER SPIN IT TO SHAREHOLDERS OR SELL IT?

MOONVES: HIGHLY DOUBTFUL, HIGHLY DOUBTFUL. ONCE AGAIN IT IS STILL A CONTENT BUSINESS. UNLIKE THE OUTDOOR BUSINESS WHICH IS WALLS. YOU PUT ADVERTISING ON WALLS THAT'S WHAT IT IS IT'S A GREAT BUSINESS. RADIO IS A CONTENT BUSINESS. WE HAVE DEVELOPED OUR SPORTS RADIO NETWORK WHICH WORKS IN CONCERT WITH OUR OTHER DIVISIONS. CBS SPORTS NETWORK AND CBS SPORTS AND SHOWTIME. VALUABLE CONTENT.

FABER: TALKING ABOUT CONTENT, LETTERMAN STEPPING DOWN. COLBERT STEPPING IN SOMETIME NEXT YEAR YOU HAVEN'T ANNOUNCED WHEN RIGHT?

MOONVES: SOMETIME NEXT YEAR, EXACTLY.

FABER: WHO IS JAMES CORDEN AND WHERE DID YOU GUYS FIND THIS GUY?

MOONVES: JAMES CORDEN IS ONE OF THE MOST TALENTED INDIVIDUALS I HAVE EVER SEEN. HE WAS ON BROADWAY IN ONE GENTLEMEN AND TWO GUVNORS I BELIEVE IS THE NAME OF IT. WELL-KNOWN GUY IN GREAT BRITAIN. 35-YEAR-OLD. ONE OF THE FUNNIEST, MOST CHARMING, MOST ENTERTAINING COMEDIANS, SONG AND DANCE MAN, INTERVIEWER, TALK SHOW GUY. IT IS GREAT TO BRING TO AMERICA SOMEBODY THAT PEOPLE DON'T REALLY KNOW AND THEY ARE IN FOR A VERY PLEASANT SURPRISE.

FABER: SO YOU THINK THAT'S A BENEFIT IN A WAY THAT NOT MANY PEOPLE REALLY KNOW THIS GUY IS WHO HE IS TAKING OVER THE LATE-NIGHT PROGRAM.

MOONVES: IT IS 12:30 AT NIGHT. IT IS A DIFFERENT TIME PERIOD THAN IT WAS. I THINK IT IS GREAT TO BE TAKING A BIG SWING AT THE PLATE. I LOVE DOING THAT. WE REALLY BELIEVE IN THIS GUY'S TALENT AND YEAH I THINK WE CAN HAVE A GREAT TIME WITH IT.

FABER: LESLIE, THANK YOU AS ALWAYS.

MOONVES: THANK YOU.

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