Newly minted FOX Entertainment president Kevin Reilly probably doesn’t need anyone to fight his battles for him. But if he did, his counterpart at ABC sounds like he’d be willing.
Steve McPherson more or less called out new NBC boss Ben Silverman on Wednesday for his courting of sacked Grey’s Anatomy actor Isaiah Washington and Silverman’s I’m-just-the-new-guy line when, earlier in the press tour, he was asked about replacing Reilly.
"Kevin Reilly is the guy who stood up for The Office against all opposition inside [NBC] and in essence made Reveille," the production company Silverman headed before taking his current job, McPherson says. "The idea that you’d be able to stand up there and say, ‘I just got here’? Be a man."
"I think it’s kind of humorous the way Ben talked about it," McPherson says.
"Listen — you guys let him off the hook. That’s your prerogative to do that. I think again, it was pretty obvious what went on there. And if he was in fact talking to [Washington] before he was available, then that’s inducement to breach [contract]. So I don’t know — he’s either clueless or stupid."
McPherson says ABC has no intention to pursue any legal action regarding Washington, but he doesn’t buy that Silverman wasn’t aware of the very well-publicized situation involving the actor: "He didn’t know what went on? Was he living in a cave?"
McPherson also chuckles at NBC’s assertion that Reilly wasn’t fired. It’s a common thing in Hollywood to be ambiguous when someone leaves a job, but McPherson says, "I think you guys got as good a laugh as I did."