Viacom CEO Bob Bakish Comments on CBS/Viacom Merger Rumors

One big rumor that’s been swirling around the Trek sphere is the possibility of a merger between CBS and Viacom, which would see the fractured Star Trek IP reunited.

Last week, I brought you the story that FOX Business had insiders claiming that the rumored merger would be on the agenda at last Friday’s CBS board meeting. It’s been radio silence from CBS, but Viacom CEO Bob Bakish made some of his thoughts known on Thursday evening, in a special event at the Paley Center. Variety on Friday reported on the event, entitled “Cocktails & Conversation with Bob Bakish, President & CEO, Viacom Inc.” The “conversation” part of the evening covered the upcoming Pluto TV streaming service, competition with Netflix, and of course, the rumored merger.

When asked about the possibility of a merger with CBS, Bakish said, “There’s a lot that’s been written about this topic, including today, and what I’d say is this is the third time we’re having a conversation about this. Our focus in the first time was… stay focused, run the business. Second time, same thing. Third time, same thing. And because of that, the company is in materially better shape from the second time to the first time, and from the third time to the second time. We’ll see what happens, but the opportunity that’s afforded in today’s landscape continues to be very compelling for Viacom.”

If a merger does go ahead, Bakish is a contender to lead the combined CBS-Viacom entity, as CBS continues to operate under interim CEO Joe Ianniello since the departure of Les Moonves last year.

Alison Pitt