Let’s face it: Hollywood is less than thrilled that NBC has just reduced its scripted primetime programming by 5 big hours a week starting in Fall 2009 to make way for Jay Leno at 10 PM. So I’m told that the peacock needed a bulletproof vest at the Hollywood Radio & Television Society’s “Hitmakers” luncheon today because the assembled panel of marquee TV showrunners took great pleasure in taking shots at the beleaguered network. According to one of the attendees: Peter Tolan [Rescue Me] referenced the time he bungled a HRTS panel appearance yet today was promoted to the panel’s moderator. “If I screw this up, then by next year I should be the Chairman of the HRTS – what they call taking a page from the Jeff Zucker playbook”. Tolan went on to commend NBC for firing everyone right before the holidays so that the storm drains of Bob Hope Drive are running red. He asked the panelists to offer NBC some good ideas on how to turn things around. Al Jean [The Simpsons] suggested “they should bring back Johnny Carson and put him at nine o’clock”. James Duff [The Closer] thought “it’s wonderful that NBC has begun a public transformation into AM radio”. Chuck Lorre [Two And A Half Man] apparantly believed the network is now so devalued that even he could buy the company — and then offered $500,000 for all of NBC. Tolan quipped that Lorre could certainly afford it. Tolan later got in another NBC zinger: “If a fish does stink from the head, they’ve made a very wise choice in cutting this one from the gills down.”
Subscribe to Deadline Breaking News Alerts and keep your inbox happy.