As we well know, former NBC president Kevin Reilly was thrust aside in a bloody coup in May of 2007, with original programming gangsta Ben Silverman installed in his place, crown cocked B-boy style to one side of his head and tossing Benjamins at assistants' desks as he strutted towards his corner office to the beat of Notorious B.I.G.'s "Ten Crack Commandments." Reilly would quickly land back on his feet, however, appointed FOX's president of entertainment. Buoyed by a little something he likes to call "American Fuck Idol You Money," he's been playing around with the dusty concepts of a rigid development season, telling reporters at TCA that the network plans on dividing theirs in two. What's more, with finding the next hit comedy a top priority, Reilly is throwing all office-bound pitching notions out the window, instead pulling the equivalent of when your 3rd grade teacher used to announce, "It's such a beautiful day outside, I thought we'd hold class in the park!" THR reports:
It was just a little over a year ago when then-NBC president Kevin Reilly, obviously depressed by the prospect of helplessly enduring another winter TV season in which all of his network's midweek offerings would be vaporized by Fox's Nielsen Death Star (obviously not to be confused with Hollywood's other destruction-dealing edifice), when he allowed himself this once delusional-seeming ray of hope at the TCAs: "Not to be shitty about it, but maybe they'll have a bad run. Nothing burns that bright forever. Some day it will be uncool to watch American Idol."
In its new issue, Esquire profiles compulsively quotable NBC perfect storm Ben Silverman, who apparently has not been too busy monitoring the foreign airwaves for lowbrow, easily importable reality TV formats he can plug into the holes the writers strike will soon blow in his network's schedule to publicly invite his favorite rivals over for a good, old-fashioned dick-measuring contest. We begin with Silverman's dismissal of network nemeses Kevin "The One Whose Job I Was Begged To Take" Reilly (now of Fox) and Steve "I Gave Him A Huge Hit He Didn't Even Want" McPherson as D-girls, fightin' words if we've ever heard any:
Even though yesterday's Hollywood Radio and TV Society luncheon and panel discussion has to be declared an overall disappointment because NBC perfect storm Ben Silverman and combative ABC president Steve McPherson, appearing together for the first time since McPherson challenged the network rival who took his best buddy's job to "be a man," failed to come to the blows the assembled journalists not-so-secretly hoped for, director/producer Barry Sonnenfeld did earn positive notices ("One of the HRTS' more lively moderators in recent memory!" raves Variety) for his hosting work at the event. THR compiles a greatest hits package of Sonnenfeld's attempts at comic relief:
And as for the guy who challenged his manhood over the way he handled the aftermath of Reilly's unexpected firing, Silverman acknowledges there's some buzz on Pushing Daises, but does take a shot at Steve McPherson's beloved Cavemen, which internet blogsite Cavefamer has called "twenty-two rollicking, Cro-Magtastic minutes of laughing and thinking that will make you forget all about auto-insurance commercials!"
· GLAAD's first-ever "Network Responsibility Index" rates each network for how well they "handle the still-sensitive issue of depicting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals on TV." ABC got the highest rating for shows like Ugly Betty, Brothers and Sisters, and the upcoming Cavemen, sure to stir up much constructive discussion about gay-caveman stereotypes. [Variety]
· International audiences flock to The Simpsons Movie, where the hilarious image of a grown man choking his son transcends all geocultural boundaries. [Variety]
· Kevin Reilly greenlights his first project for Fox—The Oaks, about "three different couples who inhabit the same house at three different times," all of whom are visited by ghosts. Ben Silverman reads this, secretly thinks to himself: "But where's the sexy?" [Variety]
· Scott Rudin buys the rights to best-seller The Dangerous Book for Boys, sure to inspire countless "Dangerous Book for Assistants" parodies, featuring merit badges for hurled-object ducking. [THR]
· Evil babies and flashback jokes appear never to get old, as The Family Guy wins Sunday night for Fox.
Since there's nothing like a burgeoning feud between two of the most powerful men in television to enliven a seemingly endless string of TCA-generated reports about the coming Fall season, we're delighted to note that ABC president Steve McPherson has come out swinging about newly appointed NBC co-chairman/chime-bearer/rock-star Ben Silverman, whom McPherson apparently felt was a little less than honest in discussing his high-profile adoption of Grey's Anatomy orphan Isaiah Washington and in the way he pleaded ignorance of the bloody execucide of predecessor Kevin Reilly that cleared the path for Silverman to take control of the Peacock. TVGuide.com relates McPherson's comments about the Isaiah situation:
· At the TCAs, non-rock-star NBC co-chairman Marc Graboff repeats the hilarious party line on Kevin Reilly's non-firing "'He wasn't fired,' Graboff revealed, inspiring instant guffaws. 'What happened was when Ben [Silverman] became available, about three months after we made Kevin's new deal, we jumped at the opportunity to bring Ben on board to the company. We thought he would be able to be the person that was going to take us to the next level. Kevin, when that happened, realized or determined, frankly, that there was just no role for him at the company and decided to move on.'" In fairness, it does get a little hard to do your job when the new guy keeps interrupting your meetings to replace another piece of your office furniture with his own. [THR]
· Acquisitive News Corp. mogul Rupert Murdoch moves closer to buying Dow Jones and adding the Wall Street Journal to his ever-growing pile of media playthings. [Variety]
· Producers open their negotiations with the WGA by offering the guild a choice: either get down on your knees and put off the issue of internet compensation until a study about new media can be completed or bend over and let us recoup whatever costs we think are fair before we pay you any residuals. Talks have been convened until Wednesday to give the writers time to craft a counterproposal that doesn't start with the words "Go fuck yourself, greedy maniacs." [THR]
· Says Var on the tenor of those initial negotiations: "The gloves have already come off." But, as noted above, not the pants. Yet. [Variety]
· Hell's Kitchen still inexplicably popular. [Variety]
· ABC's Steve McPherson on Monday's announcement that pal Kevin Reilly is headed to Fox: "I hear when they fire me, he's going to come run this place," McPherson said. He then continued, his face rapidly draining of blood, "Haha, I'm just kidding guys, my job is completely safe. Guys? Guys? We're fixing Cavemen, I told you that yesterday!" [Variety]
· Every basic cable Christmas special should find a place for former 90210 star Shannen Doherty, whose very presence announces the arrival of a magical Yuletide spirit. [THR]
· Finally: Desperately Seeking Susan: The Musical! Featuring, bizarrely, music from Deborah Harry and Blondie's back catalog. Will the story still play with "Heart of Glass" instead of "Into the Groove"? Developing... [Variety]
· Fox's beleaguered On The Lot, airing a night earlier than usual because of tonight's All Star game, comes in fourth place in its timeslot against only rerun competition. Even we didn't watch it last night, and it's our job to monitor its death-throes. [THR]
· Speaking of Fox, the renegade network plans to use its Emmy awards telecast to launch its fall season, a week before Nielsen's officially decreed start date for the ratings race they will largely concede until the next season of Idol premieres. [Variety]
· Universal buys the rights to Vanity Fair article about Barbaro, Gone Like the Wind, for triple-threat-hack Peter Berg to direct. Somewhere, our buddy Will at Deadspin faints dead away with delight. [Variety]
It's official: the much-rumored-about Fox reunion of former FX pals Peter Liguori and recent NBC Memorial Day Massacre victim Kevin Reilly (pictured above slipping his business card to Liguori at a luncheon two years ago, knowing he'd one day have to hit up his old boss for a job) has come to pass, with Reilly, as expected, taking over the crucial programming responsibility of shouting at panicked underlings, "I don't care how the fuck we do it, but I want American Idol on every night from now until the Earth hurtles into the sun!" Variety notes the irony that Fox's new hire will now have the opportunity to turn the power of that aforementioned Nielsen Death Star against the schedule he meticulously crafted for NBC shortly before his ouster, watching through bittersweet tears as each crass Idol installment wipes out his classy primetime children one by one.
Even as NBC janitors continue to scrub away at stubborn blood stains and collect overlooked skull fragments left over from the Memorial Day Massacre that enabled rock-star Ben Silverman's ascendance at the Peacock, freshly whacked president Kevin Reilly is reportedly in talks to reunite with former FX boss Peter Liguori at Fox, an attempt to recapture the magic of a previous collaboration which, in the words of Variety, elevated the then-obscure channel "to a basic-cable equivalent of HBO with cutting-edge fare."
TVWeek corralled just-installed NBC Entertainment co-chair Ben Silverman (pictured above enjoying himself in the general vicinity of soon-to-be sworn enemy Les Moonves of CBS) for a "getting to know you" chat, in which the recently anointed New Peacock Messiah reveals that while he has managed to chug the company's "Choke on Our Quality" Kool-Aid, his acceptance of the gig progressed so quickly that he hasn't yet had time to take care of certain details unimportant to taking the job, like watching all of the network's Fall pick-ups. Reports TV Week:
Because no seismic shift in the Hollywood power matrix feels fully complete without the requisite internal memo patting the ousted exec on his recently axed head for a job well done—but not quite well enough to warrant not getting fired!—while welcoming with great fanfare his more promising replacement, we offer the following message from NBC Universal President and CEO Jeff Zucker. It introduced new co-chairmen, Ben "Zucker II" Silverman and Marc Graboff, to his army of blind followers, who know better than to question the at times brutal wisdom of their sheeny-scalped overlord. The rest of the memo and press release follow after the jump:
· As we mentioned earlier, there's a new Golden Boy at NBC: Jeff Zucker reconfigures the executive structure at the once great, now consistently fourth-place network, essentially drop-kicking Kevin Reilly and luring Ben Silverman away from his successful production company to take over West Coast operations. [Variety]
· The aptly named Still Rolling Prods. says principal photography on grannie heist movie Poor Things is to begin Wednesday as planned, which means either co-star Lindsay Lohan will be recast, or the script will be rewritten to incorporate an actual L.A. courthouse and Malibu detox facility. [Variety]
· CBS greenlit six episodes of Do You Trust Me?, a game show that's betting audiences will show up to see if a player falling backwards will be caught by his co-contestants, or if they'll pull their arms away at the last moment, allowing him to be impaled on the Spikes of Death. [Variety]
· Miss Universe takes a beating in the ratings, trampled by a Two and a Half Men rerun. Miss USA, meanwhile, takes a beating of her own, tripping during the evening gown competition and getting booed loudly by the Mexican audience during the interview portion. Terrible! Kind of funny, but just terrible! [THR]
· In keeping with recent trends of premiering major Hollywood releases abroad (hey—they know on which side of the Atlantic and/or Pacific their popcorn flick is buttered), Michael Bay's blowing-shit-uppingest movie in ages, Transformers, is to get its first public showing at Rome's Taormina Film Fest. [THR]
NBC head Kevin Reilly, who just weeks ago optimistically unveiled his network's fall slate to advertisers with the fighting, Muhammad-Aliesque couplet: "We've got the class and next season we're ready to add some mass," has been relieved of his Deal or No Deal-replicating duties once and for all, in a Memorial Day weekend surprise shakeup ordered from on high by NBC Universal's Peacock King, Jeff Zucker. Reports LA Weekly's Nikki Finke:
Three months after signing a three-year extension with the network, NBC's entertainment chief Kevin Reilly is out of a job, being replaced by Ben Silverman, producer of "The Office." The news was first reported by Hollywood blabbermouth Nikki Finke (please save the e-mails, Nikki, we mean it in a good way) on Friday, and then regurgitated without credit by the New York Times and the LAT yesterday. (Classy!) The Wall Street Journal notes that Reilly, responsible the for "Heroes," last season's only hit, got like a totally raw deal.
In between super-sizing, over-ordering, and spinning off every decently rated property on its current programming roster, NBC managed to slip a couple of semi-original shows onto its Fall schedule. To whet your appetite for their upcoming September offerings, the network has posted a number of teasers to its YouTube page, including the above clip from its Bionic Woman update. Network president Kevin Reilly did proudly disclose his "choke on our classy hits" strategy yesterday, so we're not too surprised to discover that the show feels a little like Heroes in atmosphere (why not just go all the way and have the one with the pissed-off reflection turn up to bust Jamie out of the hospital?). If you're still feeling nostalgic for the original even after watching the rebuilt heroine nearly kill her physician because she's less than thrilled with her new legs, a clip of its classic opening credits follows after the jump:
As the TV upfronts are intended to be a weeklong celebration of possibility and hope, there is generally no place in a network's presentation to advertisers to pause briefly and remember the once-beloved projects that won't be going forward into the Fall season; accordingly, it took a reporter's uncomfortable question to get NBC president Kevin Reilly to reflect upon the legacy of the newly euthanized Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, whose uncompromising, visionary showrunner was just one year ago anointed the savior of the last-place network. Notes the TV Week upfronts blog:
Having spent the last year riding president Kevin Reilly's "First be best, then be first" programming strategy from an embarrassing fourth place in the ratings to a more critically acclaimed, if still sparsely watched, 2006-07 TV season, NBC today officially announced its Fall schedule, with an exuberant Reilly introducing an equally exciting organizing philosophy for a new and improved slate that includes a six-episode Heroes spin-off, 30 episodes of The Office (with five super-sized installments!), and 25 of My Name is Earl. Reports Variety: