“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.”
Earlier, Reilly joked that he agreed with controversial comments by Two And A Half Men’s Angus T. Jones that fans of the CBS show shouldn’t watch it. “I think people should stop watching it,” Reilly said to laughs from the crowd.
The Fox chief was also in the zone at last fall’s HRTS network chiefs luncheon, with such zingers as “Can somebody kill NCIS?” in reference to the ratings strength of the decade-old CBS drama series.