CBS’ new entertainment chief Glenn Geller told reporters Tuesday that he wants to “normalize my diversity” as the network’s first openly gay president.
“We always evolving, changing,” said Geller, who was promoted in September after CBS Entertainment Chairman Nina Tassler announced she was stepping down, and met press for the first time on Tuesday. “I’m just a gay guy from Indiana who doesn’t play basketball. There is diversity at CBS. It exists in front and and behind the camera. Can we do better? I think we are.”
Geller’s been with America’s most-watched network since 2001, and said it’s his hope to bring “my own sensibility and point of view” to CBS. The executive, who told reporters he is married, admitted to being a huge fan of reality programming like Survivor and Big Brother but also appreciating comedies such as Mom and Madam Secretary, which he called the “unsung hero of Sunday nights.” He also cited the viewership for the Friday night drama Blue Bloods as “pretty damn sexy” because it appeals to a whopping 14 million people.
Colleagues have described Geller as a saavy programmer who looks for big-tent like shows that will appeal to large audiences, such as decision to bring back Kevin James to the network.
Geller promised that two of CBS’ midseason shows — Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders featuring Gary Sinise and Rush Hour with Justin Hires and Jon Foo — feature diverse casts. He also has high hopes for a yet-to-be scheduled reality show that turns regular people into fugitives so real cops can chase them.
Geller isn’t the first broadcast president to talk openly about his sexuality. NBC Entertainment Chairman Bob Greenblatt, who is gay, said in 2011, “I have never ever been held back or questioned in any of my career steps that I’ve gone through because of my orientation. Nor have I seen it with anyone else. I mean, I think Hollywood is very open. In all the executive positions, executive producers, writers, directors, I don’t think there is any sort of negativity on that front at all behind the camera.”