Was Iger’s Lee Compliment a Slap at McPherson?

Disney CEO Robert Iger issued the standard compliment of ABC Entertainment chief Paul Lee in the New York Times’ puffy profile — unless, perhaps, you read between the lines.

Paullee“The best thing about Paul is that he’s a grown-up,” Iger was quoted as saying, which, one would hope, is a minimum requirement of the job, unless Disney doesn’t adhere to child-labor laws.

Still, that reference might have something to do with Lee’s predecessor, Stephen McPherson, who was often followed around by adjectives like “mercurial.” Known almost as much for his temper as his development successes — which were considerable — McPherson wound up abruptly leaving the network, creating the opportunity for Lee to slide into his shoes.

Iger could have said a lot of things to laud Lee — with the customary one foot on the floor, since it would be foolish to crow too much this early — but “grown-up?” That’s sort of like praising a new show by saying, “It’s in color.”

Lazy language? Coming from an exec as polished and smooth as Iger, I doubt it. But still a bit of a head-scratcher.

 

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