Throwback Thursday: In 2007, Kevin Reilly's Frat Brother Stephen McPherson Had His Back
After Reilly — just named head of TNT and TBS — was ousted at NBC, then ABC chief-McPherson lashed out in defense of his Phi Delta Theta fraternity brother
This story first appeared in the Nov. 21 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.
Never underestimate the bonds of brotherhood. In 2007, when then-NBC entertainment president Kevin Reilly was ousted and replaced by Ben Silverman, he had an unlikely defender: the head of another network. Then-ABC chief Stephen McPherson, a friend of Reilly's since they were Phi Delta Theta fraternity brothers at Cornell during the early '80s, lashed out at that summer's Television Critics Association press tour.
"There's no question that when you see a friend treated the way he was treated, you're going to stand up for him," McPherson told reporters, noting that Reilly had championed Silverman's The Office while at NBC. (Silverman later would dismiss McPherson and Reilly as "D girls" before he left NBC in 2009.)
Reilly, who had made his name at FX, putting the cable net on the originals map with Nip/Tuck and The Shield, quickly jumped to Fox, where he remained until June of this year. On Nov. 3, he announced he'll be returning to his cable roots as president of TNT and TBS and chief creative officer at Turner Entertainment. "I did find my way back to television in fairly short order," Reilly, 52, told THR shortly after his appointment, "but I'm done with the broadcast chapter of my career."
Nov. 18, 10:30 a.m. Updated to note that Silverman left NBC in 2009. He was not fired.