Reilly was let go after NBC finished fourth among the networks this year in total viewers and in key demographics for advertisers, including 18-to-49-year-olds. The executive has been widely praised, however, for his creative vision in developing critically acclaimed shows like "Friday Night Lights," "30 Rock," and "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip."
"I was eating in the Executive Dining Room at the NBC Commissary, and I was saying how bad the food was," explained Zucker. "The menu lineup is really dull and we were recently ranked number four amongst the networks by 'Commisary' magazine. That' when I realized we need someone with Kevin' talent and vision to shake up the menu."
"I'm really excited about this new opportunity," said Reilly. "I've had to take a 98 percent pay cut, but I've got a lot of great ideas on how to improve the food at the place I've eaten at just about every day over the last few years."
Reilly has already started to shake things up in the commisary, firing long-time grill cook Pepe Gonzalez and cashier Wanda Mellzer and bringing over several veterans from a cafe downstairs from the FX Network, where he previously worked.
But he is also learning how demanding his new job can be. On Thursday, new network co-chairman Ben Silverman, who replaced him as the top creative executive at the network, yelled at the new commisary chief after being served Tater Tots that he called "as cold and dull as the lineup you left me."
The dynamic executive has set up a board in his new office, which is in an old broom closet behind the smoothie machine, to begin programming the new menu.
"I think our weak spots in the commissary have been Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays," he explained. "Monday is the most problematic. Right now we have Buffalo Bleu Chicken Sandwich, Beef Tacos, and Sesame-coated Salmon. I'd like to see something a little bit more fun like Beef Pepper Steak with vegetables and rice. I think a Chicken Ceasar wrap would be great and a lot healthier than the Buffalo Chicken."