Kevin Reilly came to the Beverly Hilton on Sunday, tanned, ready and relaxed — and refusing to engage in any major NBC bashing. Goodness knows, Fox’s new entertainment prexy (pictured left) was given plenty of chances by the questioning during the opening exec Q&A sesh with Peter Liguori, who was upped to Fox Entertainment chairman earlier this month to make room for Reilly’s arrival. “You’re just picking at that scab aren’t you,” Liguori (pictured right) quipped as TCA-ers tried to lure Reilly into some snark about NBC, or the “previous place,” as Reilly put it, where he was unceremoniously squeezed out with the arrival of Ben Silverman as NBC Entertainment chairman in early June.
The closest thing Reilly allowed was a little skepticism about NBC’s decision to revamp its fall Tuesday sked to include new reality series “The Singing Bee,” given that the decision was made after the show had one promising airing and then “shluffed off” in the second week. But that was it — at one point Reilly even stuttered and stammered and made a joke about how hard it was for him to answer such leading questions. He was classy and high-road guy all the way, the characteristic’s we’ve always appreciated about him.
All in all Fox’s TCA sesh felt like it was 2001 all over again, the days when Liguori and Reilly where in the same roles they are now except at FX sted the big-leagues of Fox Broadcasting Co. The two looked comfortable together, and even wardrobe coordinated in casual blazer-and-jeans set up. Pressed to reflect on his recent tumultuous experience, Reilly firmly kept the focus on the future, reiterating his appreciation for the “restless” Fox corporate culture and News Corp.’s entrepreneurial DNA. Reilly made it clear that he hasn’t blown on to the Fox lot with an “everyone back up, I’m here to fix things'” mentality,” he said. “The cheapest advice anyone gives you when you do into these jobs is ‘Go with your instincts, stick what you believe in’. I feel like at a certain point during my (NBC) run I was not playing that game, and it was not right for me, and it didn’t work for the network. So that’s what I’m taking in the door with me” in settling in at Fox.