(Journalist Diane Haithman is covering the Television Critics Association confab for Deadline Hollywood.)
Remember that ABC Entertainment honcho Steve McPherson pulled out all the stops in his effort to lure Jay Leno to ABC. Oh, what a difference a year makes! Here’s what the alphabet executive articulated about the NBC late night debacle. Too bad the usually outspoken McPherson was downright polite about it: “There’s probably too many jokes to make. The only thing I’ll say is Jeff Gaspin mentioned that we are down at 10 oclock. We are actually up 8% to 10%, so it is actually a little odd to have that come out. We think it’s an advantage.
“What is great is that it has put the emphasis back on great creative and scripted shows. “For the creative community it will open up some more time periods, which I think was the most tragic thing about it. From that standpoint, we’re happy about the way things went down. But seeing a great network tumble is not something we rejoice over. We are all competitive but we want a vibrant landscape. It is disconcerting when things happen, even to our competitors. We don’t take any pleasure in that. It’s kind of like playing for the Yankees, and the Boston Red Sox decide to stop playing baseball.
“We don’t have any plans to change our late night now. We really chose not to get into the promotion wars when they were lauching Conan and Leno. I think it’s really important that we tie Jimmy [Kimmel] to our shows.”