CBS Corp. CEO Les Moonves finds some of the behavior on this summer's highly rated edition of "Big Brother" to be "appalling," but defended the show's handling of controversial content.
Responding to questions about the racist slurs uttered on "Big Brother," Moonves told reporters at the TV critics press tour that the reality series is intended to be a "scocial experiment" and always has been.
"I find some of the behavior absolutely appalling, personally," he said. "What you see there, unfortunately, is reflective of how certain people feel in America. It's what our show is."
In response to the viewer complaints, CBS recently inserted a disclaimer prior to "Big Brother" broadcasts.
"I think we've handled it properly," Moonves said. "Obviously, a lot of it makes us uncomfortable."
When asked if casting directors "try too hard" to recruit provocative personalities, Moonves replied, "There's no such thing as trying too hard. Obviously, you don't want wallflowers on reality shows. You're going to take people that are interesting. You know, sometimes that leads to controversy."
Moonves, whose wife, Julie Chen, hosts "Big Brother," said he has watched every episode this summer and that the couple regularly discusses the show.
But while the actions in the "Big Brother" house are open for public scrutiny, Moonves has a closed-door policy on his private life.
"I'm not going to tell you what goes on in my home," he replied, when one reporter asked him what kind of conversations he and Chen have had about the show.
Moonves normally does not field questions during the executive session of the tour, but filled in for CBS entertainment chief Nina Tassler, who was attending a funeral.