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Fox's Beckman Stands Up for Moment of Truth

When NBC Entertainment co-chairman Ben Silverman said his network will not be doing a show like Fox’s Moment of Truth, Fox scheduling chief Preston Beckman wanted to know just one thing.

“Was he strapped to a lie detector when he said it?” Beckman asked.

The often-outspoken Beckman was responding to the comments made by Silverman at NBC’s presentation in New York Wednesday.

While all of the broadcast networks have taken a turn toward more reality programming of late -- a byproduct of the writers’ strike and a contracting economic climate -- Silverman’s presentation attempted to recast the network's various reality offerings including The Biggest Loser, American Gladiators and Deal or No Deal as “escapist” and “heroic” entertainment.

That’s when he took a swipe at Fox, saying: “We will not be doing Moment of Truth on NBC.”

Beckman responded by talking of how network presidents over the years have made pronouncements they later regretted.

“I don’t think in this business you ever close the door on anything,” Beckman said. “You’re going to look silly at some point.”

Beckman, who already ripped NBC’s announcement in February outlining a revamped upfront and scheduling process, said he didn’t understand why NBC felt the need to announce its plans one month ahead of the other broadcast networks.

“I didn’t feel that with the build-up to this, what they delivered was in any way revolutionary,” he said. “It wasn’t, ‘Oh, wow, they got the goods!’ It was just an announcement of their schedule, which I have to believe will change a little bit. I just don’t quite grasp what’s going on with them. We don’t seem to go out in the press and say, ‘Look at me, look at me!’”

With Marisa Guthrie in New York