Reilly: Networks Are at ‘Digital Crossroads’

Oct 19, 2006  •  Post A Comment

NBC Entertainment President Kevin Reilly said the loss of 700 jobs at NBC Universal won’t affect the quality of the flagship network’s content.

Sitting on a panel alongside the programming chiefs of the five major broadcast networks and MyNetworkTV for a Hollywood Radio & Television Society luncheon Thursday in Beverly Hills, Mr. Reilly described the cuts as an inevitable result of an increasingly digital marketplace.

“We’re at a digital crossroads impacting our business,” Mr. Reilly said. “Nobody has all the answers … this has simply drawn a line around some of the decisions we’re already making. Not much to the naked eye [will change].”

NBC Universal Television Group CEO Jeff Zucker has said that as part of the cutbacks, the network will schedule only less-expensive unscripted programming between 8 and 9 p.m. But Mr. Reilly noted that programming decisions will still be made on a nightly basis, noting that “We can’t go into the jaws of ‘Dancing With the Stars’ with another reality show.”

Though the other network programming heads acknowledged the challenge of rising production and competition from new media formats, CBS Entertainment President Nina Tassler said “broadcast is still the epicenter of content” and cautioned against “addressing corporate ills with an industry trend.”

Mr. Reilly clarified: “This is not a knock on our business; it’s about belt-tightening and feeding our digital future.”