“I’ll do it as long as I possibly can. I think that there will be a day when I’ll look at it and say I don’t have the edge I used to,” said Lorne Michaels today about his future at Saturday Night Live. A seasoned and cool operator, the late night executive producer of course did not say when that day might be and if it would be related to his taking over The Tonight Show next year. In fact, Michaels didn’t say a lot about the Tonight Show Tuesday at a Comedy On TV luncheon hosted by the Hollywood Radio and Television Society on Tuesday in Beverly Hills. Of course, that’s what was on everyone’s mind now that Michael’s protégé Jimmy Fallon has formally been tipped by NBC to take over the show next year. Michaels’ one Tonight Show comment was about the plan to move the show back to New York after over 40 years out in Burbank. “Jimmy’s from New York, the show appeals to New York, I think New York is different from when Carson left and New York was on its ass,” the soon-to-be Tonight Show EP remarked. Fellow Canadian and former SNL regular Martin Short moderated the sitdown with the multiple Emmy-winner and past and future ruler of late night. “It worked out that way,” Michaels joked when Short asked if he really ruled late night. Michaels’ recent appointment as the upcoming Executive Producer of The Tonight Show means he is in control of NBC’s 11:30 PM slot six of the seven nights of the week.
Lorne Michaels Says He’s Not Leaving ‘SNL’ Anytime Soon But Stays Quiet About ‘Tonight Show’ At HRTS Lunch
Fox’s Kevin Reilly Admits Many TV Execs “Have Our Head Up Our Asses,” Says He Wishes ‘The Voice’ “Never Happened”
“A lot of us have our head up our asses,” Fox’s Kevin Reilly said today about TV executives during the Hollywood Radio & Television Society’s “The State of Broadcast” luncheon. The Fox Entertainment chairman also admitted during the panel discussion featuring Chernin Entertainment TV president Katherine Pope, UTA founding partner Peter Benedek and attorney Ken Ziffren of Ziffren Brittenham that he wished NBC’s The Voice “never happened”. “I don’t particularly like the show”, he said of the rival to his network’s American Idol. “I think Idol will have a long and graceful descent into maturity. It would have had a longer one if that show hadn’t came along. We’re not the only game in town now.”
Reilly, who can be unfiltered and entertaining at such events, dominated the session at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza. The “head up our asses” comment came during a discussion about the effects of new services and platforms on the industry. “We’re looking too myopically at the business,” he said, adding that networks “are too obsessed with our competition with each other and not the consumer.” He agreed with the other panelists that there are “radical shifts in consumer behavior and how they are watching,” adding that “on any given night we’re speaking to only 30% of the audience.” Reilly hinted that as a result things might be different at this year’s upfronts. “I’ve been talking about year-round development,” he said. “It’s not blowing up the business. It’s trying to institutionalize what we can do better.”
Diane Haithman is contributing to Deadline’s TV coverage.
Peter Tolan delivered another R-rated hosting performance as the moderator of today’s Hollywood Radio and Television Society’s Hitmakers luncheon featuring showrunners Graham Yost (Justified), Glen Mazzara (The Walking Dead) Michael Patrick King (2 Broke Girls) and Liz Meriwether (New Girl). Like Ricky Gervais at the Golden Globes, Tolan started off by showing more restraint than usual but that lasted about 10 seconds. ”I decided this year to be polite … it’s pilot season, and I do have projects out there. I’m not going to randomly go after it,” he said before adding, presumably referring to the audience in general: “You’re a fucking cunt.”
Turning to Mazzara, he said, “I thought The Walking Dead was the viewership of CBS,” adding with a grin, “None of my pilots is at CBS.”
For those in attendance at the Hollywood Radio & Television Society’s network chiefs panel earlier this month, this is not new news. But for those who weren’t there: HRTS will present “A Conversation With … Leslie Moonves” on Thursday, …
We are at the tail end of a TV selling season that saw more bidding wars and production and put pilot commitments than I can remember, and that isn’t lost on the broadcast entertainment presidents. Survivor‘s Jeff Probst opened the discussion at the annual Hollywood Radio & Television Society network chiefs luncheon today by sharing that during his lunch with the executives before they took the stage, everyone was complaining about how crazy and out of whack this pitch season has been. Fox’s Kevin Reilly, who spoke his mind more than anyone else on the panel, quickly jumped in. “(NBC) got cash, (ABC) got competitive against that cash, and we took the bait,” is how Reilly summed up this year’s marketplace. “We all think we were played a little bit. Agents are doing very well this year as a result.” Reilly’s counterparts mostly agreed, though their responses were more measured. “It’s been very, very frantic this year,” CBS’ Nina Tassler said. She blamed media coverage for the increased intensity of the pitch season. “Every single thing that happens is now being reported, from a pitch to speculation on the terms of a deal, and that does absolutely impact the business.” Added NBC’s Jennifer Salke: “I get the email about a media inquiry while the producer is still in the parking lot. That adds to the frenzy.” But it wasn’t all bad this buying season, ABC’s Paul Lee said. “There was also a rush of new energy, with a lot of new people and new ideas; there was lot of ambition in the projects coming in,” he said.