TCA: ABC and the ‘Elephant in the Room’ — McPherson

ABC began its presentation with a joke about the Steve McPherson scandal — but no additional comment on the subject

Last Updated: August 5, 2011 @ 3:32 PM

ABC started its annual TCA summer press tour presentation at the Beverly Hilton Sunday with an elephant in the room — literally.

The day's events began with network spokesperson Kevin Brockman walking on stage with a huge, stuffed pink elephant.

"I want to start by addressing the elephant in the room — and I'm not talking about Binky here," Brockman said. 

Apart from his joke, Brockman said the network wouldn't be discussing Steve McPherson with the reporters gathered at TCA. "I realize you all may have questions," he said. "Tuesday’s statement still holds, and it is literally all we are going to say on the subject. So you may ask, but you will get the same answer."

Entertainment President Steve McPherson abruptly resigned Tuesday amid reports of a possible sexual harassment scandal and Paul Lee, who was previously president of ABC Family, was announced as McPherson's replacement Friday.

Lee is scheduled to speak later in the morning, flying solo at the executive session.

"On Tuesday, we issued a statement announcing Steve McPherson's resignation from the ABC network group and I realize you all have some questions … but to save you some time I just want to say that Tuesday's statement still holds … it is literally all we are going to say on the subject," Brockman said. 

In spite of Brockman's attempts to discourage questions about the McPherson situation, which he said was, "in the spirit of making things more productive," the press pool at TCA was clearly not going to refrain from mentioning the subject.

ABC's first panel was for the Michael Imperioli cop show "Detroit 1-8-7," it began right after Brockman's remarks. The "Detroit 1-8-7" panelists were asked several questions about "the man who ordered this show who's name we're not allowed to mention," as one reporter delicately put it.

"Detroit 1-8-7" executive producer Jason Richman fielded the questions about the scandal on behalf of his show.

"He [McPherson] was very supportive and for that I'm grateful … Paul called me he was very supportive, I'm looking forward to our new partnership," Richman said. 

McPherson and his attorney, Marty Singer, have demanded a retraction from the Hollywood Reporter, which first reported rumors of a scandal. 

Previously: "Gaspin on 'The Office,' a Live '30 Rock' and Too Much Change 'Too Quickly'