28 Network Execs Reveal Candid Thoughts About Netflix, Talking Trump at Lunch and 'Game of Thrones' Fate

6:40 AM 9/14/2017

by Lesley Goldberg

TV insiders open up about the show they wish was theirs, the Emmy category they'd create and the job they'd have if they weren't working in Hollywood: "POTUS — it doesn't seem that hard."

Casey Bloys, Jennifer Salke, Nick Grad
Casey Bloys, Jennifer Salke, Nick Grad
Courtesy Photos

A version of this story first appeared in the Sept. 13 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

  • Who will win the Iron Throne on 'Game of Thrones'?


    ROB SHARENOW, HISTORY & LIFETIME Don't ask me. I'm one of the few people who had their money on Hodor.


    KEVIN REILLY, TBS & TNT Could a Joffrey resurrection somehow be possible?

    COURTENEY MONROE, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC Raising three kids as a single mom while holding down a high-pressure job isn't easy, and working moms gotta look out for one another. So, I'm pulling for Daenerys.


    CINDY HOLLAND, NETFLIX Daenerys Stormborn of the House Targaryen, First of Her Name, The Unburnt, Queen of the Andals and the First Men, Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea, Breaker of Chains and Mother of Dragons — not that I've watched the show or anything.

    JOEL STILLERMAN, HULU Mario Batali or Cat Cora. Oh wait, that's Iron Chef.

    CASEY BLOYS, HBO I actually know and will never tell.

  • The recent deal I'm still impressed got done is ...

    KENT ALTERMAN, COMEDY CENTRAL Trump's presidency.

    JENNIFER CASERTA, IFC Disney's OTT service.

    DAVID NEVINS, SHOWTIME The Mayweather-McGregor fight.

    CRAIG ERWICH, HULU David Letterman coming back to TV.

  • The talent I've been chasing for years is ...

    BLOYS Amy Poehler

    SHARENOW Sofia Coppola

    ERWICH Quentin Tarantino

    MARK PEDOWITZ, THE CW Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse

    JENNIFER SALKE, NBC I'd love to get Ryan Murphy back to NBC.

    DEBRA LEE, BET Idris Elba

    CASERTA Steve Coogan

  • What's the new show you wish was yours?

    ERIC SCHRIER, FX The Handmaid's Tale

    CHRIS ALBRECHT, STARZ Better Call Saul

    BLOYS The Handmaid's Tale

    STILLERMAN Atlanta, Stranger Things and Patriot

    ADAM STOTSKY, E! Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath

    ERWICH Ken Burns' The Vietnam War

    ERIK LOGAN, OWN This Is Us

    CHRIS LINN, TRUTV Sarah Silverman's I Love You, America

    LEE Insecure



    MONROE The new David Letterman show on Netflix.

    SARAH BARNETT, BBC AMERICA Master of None, Love, Better Things

  • If you could create a new Emmy category, what would it be?

    ALTERMAN Dramedy.

    STILLERMAN Most original show.

    ERWICH Best series finale.

    COX Best comedy or drama with commercials.

    CHRIS MCCARTHY, MTV, VH1 & LOGO Outstanding villain in a reality series.

    KELLY KAHL, CBS Best drama and best comedy for shows that run a full 16-episode-plus season.

    BILL ABBOTT, HALLMARK CHANNEL Shows Middle America actually watches.

    TOM ASCHEIM, FREEFORM A young adult category.

    CHANNING DUNGEY, ABC Outstanding new series.

    HOLLAND Best comedy regardless of running time.

    NEVINS More nominees in the best drama and comedy series categories.

  • The thing that comes up at every business lunch is ...

    ALTERMAN How long it took to get to the restaurant.

    SCHRIER Trump.

    ROSS Politics and traffic — gridlock all around.

    BLOYS When the TV bubble will burst.

    NEVINS Trump.


    PEDOWITZ Netflix, Hulu and Amazon.

    LOGAN Cord-cutting.

    MCCARTHY When are TRL and Yo! MTV Raps coming back.

    SALKE This Is Us.

    ASCHEIM Ratings decline, direct to consumer and the kids.

    MONROE What the rest of the world must think about America right now.

  • If you weren't doing this, what job would you have instead?

    ALBRECHT Piloting passengers around Lake Geneva.

    NEVINS Journalist or politico.

    STILLERMAN Owning a bowling alley.

    STOTSKY Stay-at-home dad or a cobbler.

    PEDOWITZ Retired.

    LOGAN Surf instructor at the Oprah Winfrey Maui Ranch.

    LINN Teacher or therapist, not that different from my current job.

    KAHL Assistant greenskeeper.

    CASERTA POTUS — it doesn't seem that hard.

  • What's the most frustrating reason to lose a show to a rival?

    GRAD A series commitment without a script.

    NEVINS Sellers misunderstanding the value of a meaningful backend.

    SHARENOW The perception of another brand being "cooler" than one of our brands.

    STOTSKY Money.

    ERWICH When the reasons for the choice are not clear.

    COX A rival's hype.

    LINN Money.

    REILLY When we never even get a look.

    KAHL When they have more room on their schedule for the show.

    DUNGEY When the producers don't even bring us the pitch because "it didn't feel like an ABC show."

    HOLLAND Fear of the unknown.

  • Netflix is ...

    ALTERMAN Onto something.

    ROSS Trying everything at least once.

    ALBRECHT Monstrous.

    NEVINS Hungry.

    SHARENOW Still waiting for me to send back some of the DVDs I forgot to mail back in the early 2000s.

    PEDOWITZ My competitor and my friend.

    LOGAN Great for the creation of exceptional content today.

    LINN Forcing dynamic change across the industry.

    MCCARTHY Keeping us on our toes.

    REILLY The first chapter in the second book of the trilogy about the formerly insular, indulgent and inspiring purveyor of magic and myth called Hollywood.

    ABBOTT Overvalued.

    LEE A serious competitor.

    COLLIER A really great long or a really great short, depending on whom you listen to.

    ASCHEIM Destroying the Western world as we know it.

    CASERTA Spending a lot of money on content, have you heard?

    MONROE A transformative force.

    BARNETT A ubiquitous topic of conversation.

    COX The Lannisters.

    HOLLAND The place where you can do your best work.

  • The Hollywood exec who most impresses me is...

    GRAD CBS' Les Moonves

    ALBRECHT FX's John Landgraf

    SHARENOW Warner Bros. TV's Peter Roth

    STILLERMAN Pixar's John Lasseter

    ERWICH Disney's Bob Iger

    LOGAN Roth

    BLOYS Landgraf

    COX Ted Turner

    LINN Landgraf

    MCCARTHY Comedy Central's Kent Alterman

    ABBOTT Lionsgate's Jon Feltheimer

    LEE ABC's Channing Dungey

    HOLLAND Universal's Donna Langley

  • I wish our showrunners would stop ...

    ALBRECHT Spending money.

    ABBOTT Becoming overly attached to storylines.

    LEE Complaining about standards.

  • Five years from now, how much of your schedule will you own?

    ROSS I'd expect to continue to own all our programming.

    ALBRECHT Hopefully all of it.

    SHARENOW Nearly 100 percent.

    STOTSKY 100 percent.

    PEDOWITZ We already own it.

    COX Financially, all; emotionally, the hits.

    MCCARTHY All of it, I hope.

    REILLY We will own as much of "our schedule" as we can in partnership with creators, but there will be no "schedule."  Instead we will enable consumers to "own their own schedule."

    KAHL We will own most of it, like we do now.

    LINN All of it, just like we do today.

    ABBOTT More than 50 percent.

    SALKE We definitely hope to increase our homegrown hits, but we will always continue to buy the best shows out there from any supplier.

    LEE 60 percent.

    COLLIER Five years from now, what's a schedule?

    ASCHEIM 100 percent.

    MONROE Even more than we do today, and we already own most of what is on our air.

    BARNETT A higher percentage of any cable nets' originals will be owned shows, though probably as a trend, networks won't be increasing the overall number of slots — maybe the opposite. Rather than [just] size of audience, it will be more about shows that matter to energetic fandoms and to the long-term business. And still, efficient acquisitions will continue to be the volume play on cable nets' schedules.

    HOLLAND More than today, but we want to work with all of the studios, too.