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Scott D. Pierce: Network execs are good at, um, exaggerating

Published July 24, 2013 4:40 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Here's shocking news — network executives don't always tell television critics the truth. Gasp!

This week, as the latest Television Critics Association press tour gets under way in Beverly Hills, we know we're going to hear exaggerations. It's part of the business.

Network execs are there to sell us on how great their new shows are — even the bad ones.

I respect network execs and give them enough credit to not believe them — or hold it against them — when they tell us bad shows are good.

But it's fun to look back at a few exaggerations from the summer 2012 press tour:

Fox • "I anticipate that 'X Factor' is going to be even stronger this year," said Fox Entertainment chairman Kevin Reilly.

Ratings declined 25 percent.

• "We kind of had our eye on ['Ben and Kate'] all year long as the one we hoped would just fit the bill, and I think it does perfectly," Reilly said.

It was quickly canceled.

• "We're going to have a good year, and we're going to be teed up for the future," Reilly said.

Fox's prime-time ratings declined 22 percent.

NBC • "I think the fans of 'Community' are going to get the same show that they have loved from the beginning."

No fan of the show would agree with that. And, at the end of last season, the new showrunners were dumped in favor of the original showrunner/creator.

• "I have no doubt ['The Today Show'] will rebound and sort of regain the spot that it's had for all these years."

Um, nope. "Good Morning America" is lengthening its lead.

• " 'Rock Center" … is an incredible asset to the company, as is Brian Williams. We felt that show … needs more time."

It was canceled after posting incredibly bad ratings that never improved.

ABC • "Our Tuesday night comedies are going to be very important to us because 'Happy Endings' and '[Don't Trust the B in] Apartment 23,' two of my favorite shows, are really smart shows," said ABC Entertainment president Paul Lee.

Neither of them got much support. Both were moved to bad time slots. Both were canceled.

• "We're loving "Last Resort." We think that's going to be great," Lee said.

Canceled in less than two months.

• "Our audiences sort of cannot wait for Terry O'Quinn and Vanessa Williams to come back [in '666 Park Avenue']," Lee said.

Also canceled in less than two months.

CBS • "For us, the fact that ['Las Vegas'] was set in the '60s was secondary to the extraordinary character of [former Las Vegas sheriff] Ralph Lamb. There's a franchise built into the show."

Didn't turn out to be much of a franchise. The show never caught on and was canceled at the end of its first and only season.

Scott D. Pierce covers television for The Salt Lake Tribune. Email him at spierce@sltrib.com; follow him on Twitter @ScottDPierce.