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Steve McPherson still gone from ABC

[This entry has been updated to include statement from Steve McPherson and comment from CW programming chief Dawn Ostroff.]

Thursday at Summer TV Press Tour 2010 kicked off with CBS's pay cable network Showtime which currently has no head of programming: Robert Greenblatt, who had the gig, is gone, and David Nevins, his replacement, doesn't start until Monday.

So there was no exec Q&A, and no one for TV critics to ask about ABC Entertainment president Steve McPherson and his exit from that Disney-owned network.

But CW programming chief Dawn Ostroff came to the tour her usual over-prepped self and had one of her Ostroff-ian non-answers ready to go:

"I have been in this job, between UPN and now CW, for nine years... and I wish Steve all the best," she said, when asked how it felt to have outlasted McPherson in these jobs.

"What happened [when you heard the news] besides wishing him all the best?" a critic persevered "Did you find it a stunning surprise?"

"I always say they are rented seats," Ostroff replied. "It's part of the business. I've seen a lot of people come and go from these jobs and a lot of people who I respect a lot go for different reasons. Unfortunately, it's not that unusual."

But McPherson's departure may be shaping up as "unusual." In the latest Steve McPherson is Gone News, he has retained legal pit bull Marty Singer to "deal with "the false & defamatory stories fueled by unknown and anonymous sources that are now appearing in the media since his resignation from ABC."

That statement, issued by McPherson's publicist, came one day after a McPherson rep had issued an intriguing statement about how, "it is not uncommon for high level executives to be the subject of gossip and innuendo," including "rumors of internal situations which can easily be misinterpreted or misrepresented."

"Seems like it goes with the territory, and there is nothing further to discuss," the statement concluded.

That statement was issued after reports began to pop up on the Web as to the possible cause for McPherson's resignation.

By Lisa de Moraes  |  July 29, 2010; 3:04 PM ET
Categories:  Summer TV Press Tour 2010 , TV News  
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