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Stuart Murphy, director of Sky’s entertainment channels, said Friday that the British pay TV giant has no interest in doing a show with former Top Gear host Jeremy Clarkson.
“He is not someone we want to work with,” he said during a panel at the Royal Television Society Cambridge Convention. The panel on “Talent: Can’t live with ‘em, can’t live without ‘em” discussed the fracas that led to the BBC firing Clarkson and its fallout.
Murphy criticized the host for making light of criticism after racism accusations in the past, arguing he was “so tentantive about an apology” in at least one major case. “Grow up!” he said about Clarkson.
He also said that since Sky gets paid monthly subscription fees, it was important that “we reflect [people’s] values.”
Jonathan Shalit, agent and chairman of Roar Global, was asked how he would have dealt with Clarkson after a physical altercation with a producer. “Privately, I would have said you are an idiot,” he said, but said his job would have called for him to defend his client otherwise.
After Amazon signed a big three-year deal with the former Top Gear team, Shalit said Clarkson likely feels like he was “having the last laugh.” But he warned that in three years, “he might struggle” to come back to TV, because he will have less exposure in Britain now.
Asked about Clarkson successor Chris Evans, Shalit said: “People clearly are replaceable. And people have a moment … and it can pass very quickly.”
Danielle Lux, managing director of CPL Productions, cautioned though that when on-air talent has a kind of “authorship” role on a show, it is hard to replace them. A replacement is likely to shift that authorship, she said.
Murphy on Friday also said it was “slightly embarrassing” for the TV industry that it hasn’t managed to get diversity right so far.
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