NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- CBS (CBS) has been a great stock, there's no question. So has Time Warner (TWX) . Obviously CBS CEO Leslie Moonves is doing something right. Ditto that for Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes.
However, it's important to stay ahead of the curve, and it's important to fight for shareholders -- maximizing stock value is of utmost importance.
That's why I argue that Moonves and Bewkes should have considered shutting down "The Big Bang Theory", a television program that runs on CBS television and is produced by Warner Bros. TV. Recently, there was a contract-negotiations problem holding up production. It was over money (of course). According to The Hollywood Reporter, the main stars wanted an increase from $350,000 per episode to $1 million per episode, a number that included backend participation. The situation was resolved, and the big stars of "Big Bang" as well as some of the lesser players, essentially got what they demanded.
"The Big Bang Theory" makes a lot of money. The show is worth billions of dollars of revenue in the broadcast and syndication arenas; how much of that is profit is hard to come by, but it has to be significant. Even so, it is my conclusion that Moonves and Bewkes should not have given in to the cast and instead called it a day on the show.
That sounds insane certainly, but standing up to Hollywood talent and withstanding the pressure from all sides to cave to the demands of the celebrities involved should be the mission statement for executives.
Have no doubt: here there be pressure. Massive amounts of it. Pressure from the public, from affiliates, from executives below the corner office, from agents and so on. It would be a tough thing to walk away from a show that has shown incredible revenue growth.
Who takes the risk, ultimately? Is the star talent? No. It's CBS and Time Warner. Moonves and Bewkes should have gotten together and told Jim Parsons and Kaley Cuoco no. It's a simple one-syllable word that should be used more often in Hollywood.
It's not that they don't deserve a good amount of money. Perhaps they do. Unfortunately, as a show matures, there is no guarantee that it will continue to be a hit. No one knows the future. "The Big Bang Theory" has been on the air for quite a long time; it's definitely a commodity that has demonstrated its value in the marketplace.
Rejecting demands for overpriced contracts might provide dividends in the future, however. As unthinkable a move it would be to cancel "The Big Bang Theory," it might dissuade other agents and stars from asking for too much.