Kelly Kahl ’89

Kelly KahlIt’s very possible that Kelly Kahl is responsible for one of your favorite TV shows. As senior executive vice president for CBS Primetime, he oversaw the planning and scheduling of all primetime programming for more than two decades. He helped build a schedule that included hugely successful shows such as Survivor, Blue Bloods, Everybody Loves Raymond, The Big Bang Theory, CSI, and three editions of the NCIS franchise, ensuring that CBS ranked number one in viewers for 14 of the last 15 seasons. Kahl was promoted to president of CBS Entertainment in May. His current role involves leading the network’s entertainment division, overseeing programming, research and scheduling, marketing and promotion, digital-interactive, diversity, and publicity.

Kahl signed on at CBS in 1996 after several years at Warner Brothers Television. Prior to that, he was with Lorimar Television, starting as a research intern and quickly rising through the ranks as a research analyst and manager. Kahl, whose Twitter handle is cali badger, is well known for his love of Wisconsin sports, and he serves on the Communication Arts Partners board for UW–Madison. He often hosts UW events at his home and at the bar he owns, the Underground Pub, and he has also established a successful internship program at CBS for UW students. Senior Ryan Holtz, this year’s intern, says, “Kelly is extremely hands-on with his interns. His promotion happened just as I was arriving at CBS for the summer, but he was still able to keep his door open for each and every minute question that I had.”