"BE A MAN," ABC'S ENTERTAINMENT CHIEF TELLS NBC'S

In a verbal assault rarely -- if ever -- unleashed by a top executive of one network against another, ABC Entertainment President Steve McPherson blasted the decision by NBC's top brass to replace NBC Entertainment President Kevin Reilly with Ben Silverman, then declare that Reilly was "not fired." McPherson and Reilly are regarded as longtime friends, dating back to college days, something that McPherson himself alluded to during his eruption while meeting with a group of members of the Television Critics Association in Beverly Hills on Wednesday. "When someone stabs your best friend in the back, you don't buy it," McPherson remarked. He criticized reporters for failing to challenge Silverman's refusal to comment on Reilly's ouster. "I just got here, Silverman had said when asked whether it was good corporate policy to fire Reilly just weeks after signing him to a new deal. "The idea you would be able to say 'I just got here?' Be a man," McPherson said. "He didn't know what went on? Was he living in a cave?" Silverman's admitted decision to talk to Isaiah Washington about appearing in Bionic Woman while he was still under contract to appear in Grey's Anatomy showed that Silverman is "either clueless or stupid," McPherson continued, then laid into the press for failing to challenge Silverman on that decision. "You guys let him off the hook, but that's your prerogative," he said icily. Earlier, McPherson announced that Harold Perrineau will be returning to the cast of Lost and that the planned sitcom Caveman, based on the TV commercials, is being overhauled.

20/20 TO LOSE ITS TIME PERIOD

ABC's newsmagazine 20/20, a fixture in the 10:00 p.m. hour on Fridays for 20 years, will be moving to 8:00 p.m. in the fall, the network announced Wednesday. In an interview with the Hollywood Reporter, executive producer David Sloan expressed no qualms about the decision to move the show into the earlier time slot. "The network recognizes and acknowledges that 20/20 has been the top-rated show on ABC -- and sometimes on all networks -- on Friday," Sloan said. Moving into the 10:00 p.m. slot will be the drama Men in Trees.

BUSH ACKNOWLEDGES WOODRUFF, BUT WON'T TAKE HIS QUESTION

Former ABC News anchor Bob Woodruff, who was critically wounded while covering the war in Iraq last year, said Wednesday that he was "shocked" and felt "a little uncomfortable" when President Bush mentioned his name Wednesday as one of the persons who had been treated for serious injuries during the war. Writing on the ABC World News blog, Woodruff said that he had gone to the news conference with the intention of asking the president whether the government is working fast enough to help injured soldiers receive the help they need and "doing everything it can to make sure these soldiers get what they deserve." He said that he was unable to raise the issue. "He told me he wouldn't take questions! But after the press conference we had the chance to talk for a few minutes, and he was very kind." Woodruff did not indicate whether the issue he wanted to confront the president with ever came up.

U.K. NETWORK TO SHOW MAN DYING

Britain's commercial ITV network plans to broadcast a documentary about an Alzheimer's disease sufferer that will include his final moments of life as he succumbs in his wife's arms, the London Times reported today (Thursday). The documentary, set to air on the network on August 8, concerns Malcolm Pointon, a onetime music lecturer at Cambridge University. As he breathes his final breath, his wife Barbara tells him, You can let go. Death isn't the end because love goes on." The Times reported that some "pressure groups" have criticized the showing of the film as inappropriate. John Beyer, director of Mediawatch-UK, told the newspaper: "There is a certain dignity in death that is not appropriate for people to gawp at on television."

CNN CLARIFIES DEBATABLE CLAIM

CNN has clarified its claim on Tuesday that the YouTube Democratic presidential debate delivered more 18-34-year-old viewers than any previous debate in cable news history. The network said that it was referring only to debates that have taken place during the period of the primary elections.

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Brian B.