Reilly, on stage with the other broadcast entertainment presidents for the Hollywood Radio and TV Society's annual "network chiefs" luncheon, said he believed the networks should get a proper chunk of the approximately $15 a month that subscribers pay for the broadcast stations.
Add that up, he said, and that reps $550 million in profit for the cable operator.
"I don't know why USA Network gets compensated for 'House' reruns when we don't for 'House' originals," he added.
That argument didn't sit well with the folks at USA Network, however, where the cabler's strong crop of original programming plays into its subscriber fees as well.
"I think my good friend Kevin (Reilly) may have mispoken when he said that MSOs are just 'paying USA for re-runs of House,'" said Jeff Wachtel, president, original programming, USA Network, and co-head, original content, Universal Cable Productions. "I think they value a number of things, including seven original scripted hit series, the WWE, big movies and a well-branded overall environment."
Read more about today's HRTS luncheon here.