CBS Boss Talks “Big Brother” Controversy, “NCIS” Exit

Leslie Moonves reveals they offered Cote de Pablo a lot of money to stay with the drama series

Fans who were crushed by the shocking announcement that "NCIS'" favorite Cote de Pablo would not be returning to the drama series for season 11 might feel a tad bit better to know that CBS tried its hardest to get her to stay.

During the CBS executive session at the summer press tour Monday, CEO Leslie Moonves wanted the letter-writing, rage-tweeting fans to know it was the star's choice to leave. They even offered a significant pay raise, and she still turned it down.

"I really want to clarify: We offered Cote de Pablo a lot of money. And then we offered her even more money," Moonves shared. "We really didn't want to lose her, we love her she was terrific and we obviously were in discussions with the cast and the producers were aware with what was going on and ultimately she decided that she didn't want to do the show. It was purely her decision."

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Still heartbroken, Ziva fans? Moonves may not feel your pain, but he hears it. And reads it.

"We're obviously getting a lot of emails and a lot of twitter buzz about her and rightly so, she's a wonderful lady," the CEO said. "Look, NCIS is the highest rated show in television last year, we don't like losing anybody but we did everything humanly possibly, we feel like we exhausted every opportunity and she just decided she didn't want to do the show."

Pablo announced her departure in the beginning of July, saying in a statement: "I've had eight great years with 'NCIS' and Ziva David. I have huge respect and affection for Mark, Gary, Michael, David, Rocky, Pauley, Brian, Sean, all of the team and CBS. I look forward to finishing Ziva's story."

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"Big Brother's" 15th season has been stirring up controversy in a big way after several house guests were overheard using racial slurs on the live feeds, which were later aired on the network. CBS issued an apology and later aired a disclaimer prior to an episode.

"Big Brother is obviously a social experiment, it always was established as social experiment. Clearly that's whats happening this year," Moonves said. "I find some of the behavior absolutely appalling, personally. It's unfortunately reflective of how certain people feel in America. I feel we've handled it properly. We did not comment on some to the things being said until it affected [the game]. There was a lot of chatter about it on the Internet and I think we've handled it the way we should have."

Of course, Moonves is married to the reality hit's host Julie Chen, who spoke out about the house guest's comments, saying, "I took it personally." When asked what their conversations about the controversy have been like, Moonves said, "I'm not going to tell you what goes on in my house." Oh snap!

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