A "reporter" standing in the back and claiming to hail from the "Sarasota Star Herald Tribune" took the mic at ABC’s TCA executive session and asked ABC Entertainment president Steve McPherson some truly wacky questions.
First, he was anxious about a rumor that ABC is "actively courting Jay Leno at 11:30."
"Is there any truth to those rumors? And, if so, I have a follow-up," said the reporter.
McPherson tried to fend him off: "I don’t really feel comforable answering that in this forum."
"Is it McPhEERson or McFORCEsom?" the reported asked audaciously.
For a few seconds confusion reigned - until everyone figured out the voice behind the mic was Jimmy Kimmel, host of ABC’s late night talk show Jimmy Kimmel Live!
"If you were even to talk to Jay Leno, wouldn’t that be like contract
tampering? Wouldn’t that be illegal?" Kimmel continued. "Couldn’t you go to jail for that?"
"Do you have any other questions?" asked a faux-miffed McPherson.
"How do you keep your hair so nice?" Kimmel asked.
"Can we get this guy out of here?" McPherson replied.
Kimmel concluded with a swipe: "Are you at all afraid that if you do replace Jimmy Kimmel that he might do something crazy to you or your car?"
Then he added with a flourish: "I’ll be out in the parking lot."
The edge around the Leno issue thus dulled, McPherson then had this to say: "The Leno situation…it’s a question for NBC. I can’t believe that they’re going to let this guy go at the top of his game, and if that happens, I guess we’ll look at it at the time, and Jimmy will be involved in those discussions…"
Aaron Barnhart, who was standing in the back, reports that Kimmel scooted out immediately after. Sources tell Aaron that "plans to bring Leno over to ABC…are ‘all but a done deal.’"
In other news, McPherson says that Grey’s Anatomy Katherine Heigl is "absolutely staying w/ the show. There’s an unbelievable story line for her."