SWhen Deadline reported yesterday that Marcus Wiley, soon-to-be-former senior vice president of Fox Comedy, is "stepping down to segue to producing," we noted with interest reporter Nellie Andreeva's description of Wiley as "known in the industry for his temper and passion for talent." Not to mention her parenthetical aside that Wiley "was involved in a heated argument at the network earlier this year that has drawn a lot of attention."
Temper! Passion! Argument! Naturally, we had questions. When we asked them—by calling Wiley and Fox—we got an interesting response from Wiley's lawyer, Mr. William J. Briggs II. It seems that, according to the threatening letter we received from Briggs (reproduced in its entirety below):
• Wiley never got into "physical altercations with two colleagues."
• That those two colleagues were not David Sleven, who worked under Wiley as manager of comedy at Fox in 2008, and Shana Waterman, currently the senior vice president of Fox's event series and multi-platform programming department.
• And that one of the non-incidents did not involve "Mr. Wiley chok[ing] a colleague."
Good to know.
When we initially called Fox to ask, in general terms, about Wiley's "temper" and "passion," a shocked Fox flack replied: "This conversation is the first I've heard of it. I've been asking around and no one else has heard about this incident involving David Sleven either."
The flack's response struck us as noteworthy for two reasons: 1) The fact that she had been "asking around" about a story that, prior to the conversation in which she made that very statement, she had never heard of, is quite a feat of space-time management. And 2) We had not mentioned David Sleven, directly or indirectly.
When asked how she could have been asking around about the story's validity prior to our phone call when, prior to our phone call, she had no knowledge of it, she did not respond. (In her defense, she had actually been apprised of our inquiry immediately before our conversation by a call from Wiley himself. So it's possible that she had "asked around" in the two minutes that elapsed between Wiley's call and ours.)
Wiley himself told us, "there is absolutely no truth to that. I've heard some untruths about that and I'm saying to you that it isn't true." At which point he referred the matter to his attorney. He'll be hiring a new assistant soon enough, so if you've got the passion, now's the time to apply.
[Image by Jim Cooke.]