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TCA: ‘Modern Family’ Creator: Fox Is Eating Its Own

With a boost from “Cougar Town” showrunner Bill Lawrence, Steve Levitan expresses dismay at the scheduling of “American Idol”

If it weren’t already clear, Steve Levitan isn’t happy about Fox’s decision to slot "American Idol" against his ABC comedy "Modern Family."

Fox’s juggernaut was always scheduled to shift to the 9 p.m. hour at some point this spring. But a few weeks ago, the network decided that move would take place sooner rather than later.

This despite that Fox’s sister studio, 20th Century Fox TV, produces "Idol."
Levitan’s feelings on the matter came up Tuesday during an ABC producer panel at the Television Critics Association tour in Pasadena in which Levitan shared a stage with "Cougar Town" executive producer Bill Lawrence.

The latter man suddenly got worked up about the Fox move.

"Speaking of bulls—, why’s a network trying to attack its own assets?" Lawrence asked. "Does nobody raise their hands in that meeting and say, ‘We stand to make hundreds of millions’ (from backend profits)?"

Levitan then piped in.

"We’re not happy about that. But it is what is," he said.

Then, striking his best Zen pose: "That’s the new happy me."

Levitan has previously made it clear he has a beef with Fox, particularly entertainment boss Kevin Reilly. Reilly passed on Levitan’s "Back to You" when he ran NBC — and then canceled the Kelsey Grammer/Patricia Heaton show when he moved to Fox.

Reilly, for his part, could point to the generally poor reviews for "Back to You" and the fact that the show never really made sense for Fox (but would’ve totally worked on CBS).

We’re staying out of this one.

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