Nancy Tellem will continue to manage CBS' interest in the CW network. (Dana Fineman, xx )
Nancy Tellem, one of Hollywood's top female executives, said Thursday that she was stepping down as president of the CBS network's entertainment group. But she won't be going far.
In January, Tellem will take on a new role as a senior advisor to CBS Corp. Chief Executive Leslie Moonves. She will concentrate on new business initiatives, partnerships and emerging technologies.
The move had been expected. For two years Tellem has wanted to step back from the day-to-day management of the broadcast network's programming and its television production studio. The veteran programmer said she planned to focus on helping CBS navigate the changes sweeping the entertainment industry.
"As we look at the television landscape, with its challenges and the emergence of new technologies, I wanted to be able to devote the necessary focus, attention and resources to address these challenges and embrace them," Tellem said.
She will continue to manage CBS' interest in the CW network, a joint venture with Warner Bros. Entertainment, which attracts young women viewers with such shows as "Vampire Diaries."
Tellem "has been looking for a new challenge and is very passionate about this transformative time in our business," Moonves said in an e-mail to employees. She has been part of Moonves' inner circle, one of the most stable management teams in the industry, for 23 years, including 14 at CBS.
As CBS Entertainment president, Tellem helped to develop such hits as "Survivor," "CSI" and "Two and A Half Men." Although she kept a low profile outside the company, the management skills of Tellem and her team were visible in 2008 when, in the wake of the disruptive writers strike, CBS was the only major network to quickly restart production of prime-time shows and shoot TV show pilots on schedule.
CBS said there were no immediate plans to fill Tellem's position. Moonves said that Nina Tassler, president of CBS Entertainment, and David Stapf, president of the CBS Television Studio, would continue to run their businesses.