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Patient CBS programming chief faces McPherson questions

When ABC Entertainment chief Steve McPherson quit his job the night before Summer TV Press Tour 2010 officially got underway at the Beverly Hills Hilton hotel, it became the leitmotif of every executive Q&A session that would follow.

CBS programming chief Nina Tassler got her at bat with TV critics Wednesday morning, and one of them wondered whether at CBS, where executives tend to stay forever and not get the old heave ho, Tassler was jealous of the executive churn rate at ABC. Is there, the TV critic wondered, "any downside to not having more churn."

You can't make this stuff up.

A lesser woman would have called the reporter an nincompoop and moved on to the next question. Heck, Steve McPherson would have called the reporter a nincompoop and moved on to the next question. We miss Steve McPherson so much.

But Nina Tassler was better brought up than that. And so, instead of calling the reporter a nincompoop and moving on to the next question, she, with incredible patience, as though she was talking to a much loved child who had been dropped on its head in infancy, explained that "stability is a good thing," and that CBS has stability in its executive suite because it's, you know, getting more viewers than any other network in the United States. And, she continued to explain, slowly and clearly, that when you see a lot of churn in a network's executive ranks, it usually means the network is not doing so well.

"As far as Steve goes, I thought "Damn, he got out of doing Press Tour!'," Tassler could not resist adding.

In case you missed it, McPherson totally upstaged everyone coming to Summer TV Press Tour 2010 this week and next when he up and quit late Tuesday.

McPherson really, really hated coming to the press tour -- he was scheduled to appear in front of TV critics Sunday. His Q&A session was always one of the highlights of the tour because it was touch and go whether things would get physical. It is a great loss to Press Tour.

"Steve McPherson today submitted his resignation as President, ABC Entertainment Group, and the Company accepted," ABC said in a statement Tuesday.

By Lisa de Moraes  |  July 28, 2010; 2:14 PM ET
Categories:  Summer TV Press Tour 2010  
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