Edinburgh TV Fest: BSkyB Entertainment Boss Opposes Shows That Humiliate Contestants

1:54 PM PST 08/22/2013 by Georg Szalai
Courtesy of BSkyB

Stuart Murphy also says he is "not bothered" by recent comments from a BBC executive questioning his comedic taste and denied that sports rights spending is cutting into his budget.

EDINBURGH – BSkyB's director of entertainment channels Stuart Murphy on Thursday spoke out against competition shows in which judges diss contestants, and said he was "not bothered" by competitors questioning his comedic taste.

Speaking here at the Edinburgh International Television Festival, sponsored by The Guardian, Murphy said the Sky channels were not looking for shows that humiliate contestants. He said he was "uncomfortable with dissing" participants in shows.

Murphy emphasized that such shows would be contrary to Sky's image as an optimistic, modern and respectful company.

Questioned about what kind of respect his industry peers have for him after recent reports that  BBC head of comedy Shane Allen questioned his comedic taste, Murphy said he was "not bothered." He added: "We're not in the business of making people feel the world is a grimmer place than it is."

Murphy also denied suggestions that BSkyB's spending on expensive sports TV rights are cutting into his entertainment programming budget. There was "100 percent no truth" to those suggestions, he told the festival.

Murphy is projected to spend $935 million (£600 million) on U.K. entertainment content by the end of 2014, saying Thursday the company's plans remained on track.

E-mail: Georg.Szalai@THR.com
Twitter: @georgszalai

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