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Exec Fight: Ben Silverman vs. Steve McPherson

Courtesy of 20th Century Fox

You may remember way back to mid-July, when NBC wunderkind Ben Silverman announced that Isaiah Washington, recently axed from ABC hit Grey's Anatomy, was being added to the cast of NBC's Bionic Woman. A gleeful Silverman described a conversation he had with Washington during which Washington told him he would be available in the fall. "Wait, I don't understand," Silverman claimed he said. "What do you mean? You're a huge star on a star television show!"

Well, ABC president of Entertainment Steve McPherson took umbrage yesterday at Silverman's faux naivety. "He's either clueless or stupid," McPherson said. McPherson then criticized Silverman for disavowing himself of responsibility in the departure of former NBC exec Kevin Reilly. "Be a man," McPherson said. "He didn't know what went on? Was he living in a cave? … When someone stabs your best friend in the back, you don't buy it."

Of course, this being Hollywood, there's a tangled web of allegiances to keep track of. For one thing, McPherson and Reilly are longtime friends. For another, Silverman is responsible for one of ABC's biggest hits, Ugly Betty, which is produced by Silverman's old shingle Reveille. One nameless NBC exec told Variety, "Ben's producing a show for (McPherson) that just received eleven Emmy nominations. Now he's pissing on him?"

This seems like a beef that can only be settled one way: with a sunset knife fight on the Malibu cliffs. Our money's on Silverman — McPherson seems tough, but you just know Silverman will fight dirty to protect his beautiful, tanned face.

ABC's McPherson criticizes Silverman [Variety]