CBS kicks NBC while it's down
CBS Entertainment President Nina Tassler got in a couple of shots at NBC and the recently departed Silverman during her time at the Television Critics Association press tour Monday (Aug. 3). In what will likely be a theme with all the network heads, Tassler was asked about Jay Leno's prime-time NBC show and whether, if the show is successful, CBS would consider following suit.
"Whatever happens, they're going to declare victory right from the beginning," Tassler joked in reference to NBC touting Conan O'Brien as "the new king of late night" after O'Brien's first week on "The Tonight Show." "You can write that headline now."
Another reporter asked about the wisdom of NBC's strategy of giving Leno five hours a week: "Is it seen as perhaps that him ceding five hours of narrative programming was not such a good thing over there?"
"Well, you know, I'm really just a D-girl," Tassler cracked. "So I wouldn't comment."
The hearty laughs in the hotel ballroom came from those who remembered the following quote from Silverman in a 2007 Esquire profile, in which he explained that his background as an agent and producer would give him a leg up on his fellow network heads.
"The industry hasn't seen an executive like me in a long time," Silverman told the magazine. "Traditionally, development executives rise through a specific subsection of the TV business -- prime time, network, scripted programming. They're basically D-girls" -- industry slang for low-level and typically powerless studio and network employees. "That's what [ABC Entertainment president] Steve McPherson is, that's what [FOX Entertainment president] Kevin Reilly is. That's bad vernacular, but they're all D-girls."
Silverman, who made his exit from NBC a week ago, is moving on to a new venture with media mogul Barry Diller that will develop programming for all platforms. Would Tassler consider buying shows from him? "If they're good."
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