Fox Chief Compares Angus T. Jones' Comments to Nicki Minaj's Latest 'Idol' Feud

3:24 PM PST 11/28/2012 by Alex Ben Block
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Angus T. Jones and Nicki Minaj

“It’s part of the world we live in,” network entertainment chairman Kevin Reilly told a Wednesday crowd. "You want stars to represent themselves, but sometimes they freestyle a little bit.”

Fox Broadcasting entertainment chairman Kevin Reilly put in his two cents on Two and a Half Men's latest public woe, star Angus T. Jones condemning it as filth. And while he and his fellow panelists at Wednesday's HRTS newsmaker luncheon noted that the actor's remarks could hurt the show, they also thought it might help it.

“It’s part of the world we live in,” said Reilly, drawing comparison to American Idol judge Nicki Minaj’s public feud with series alum Steven Tyler. "You want stars to represent themselves, but sometimes they freestyle a little bit.”

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In the case of American Idol, Reilly said he thinks news is ultimately “going to be good for [the network]” because of the publicity it generates and the interest it raises in the new season that starts in January.

“There’s a point where it can get out of control,” he added, turning back to Two and a Half Men. "[That] is where the PR people come in and tell Angus to apologize in a statement.”

Peter Benedek, co-founder of the UTA talent agency, piped in that he would bet it is Jones' agent who is suffering the most from this, calling him “the most tortured individual of all.”

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“Yes, there is an apology, and yes, you hope it moves through the news cycle as fast as possible,” said Benedek. “But there is somebody with a thing in his ear telling the client: ‘Yes, you are right. Of course I agree with your position.’ ”

Katherine Pope, president of television for Chernin Entertainment, said with a shrug that it depends on the talent's work ethic. "Are they showing up for work?" she asked. "Everybody now has an outlet to express everything at any given moment, and that may change. … (But) if the work isn’t impacted, everybody has their moments, and you let it pass."

What are you going to do, joked Reilly, “get a new 'half man' on the show?”

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