When Fox TV top dog Sandy Grushow announced Monday that, effective immediately, he was leaving his post as chairman of both the Fox TV network and the 20th Century Fox production unit in order to take some nebulous indie production deal with the company -- essentially trading in his huge ball of clay to play with a very small ball of the same clay -- he issued the following statement to the press:
"This was a very complicated decision for me to make ... As I contemplated my future over the holidays, I concluded that it was in my best interest to exercise the 'production' option negotiated as part of my current contract rather than entering into another long-term executive agreement with the Company."
In a subsequent interview with the Washington Post, Grushow, whose network has suffered some early-season ratings disappointments, admitted to having a few regrets about not being able to stay on the job just a bit longer "to bask in the glory of what will surely be a very successful season" for Fox. The network's expected big savior? A reality show about the big and boldly unbeautiful called "My Big Fat Obnoxious Fiance," which defies brief description but includes fat people lying to each other and to each other's families and, well, being fat and stuff.
Hard as it is to imagine anyone wanting to walk away from that, Grushow's announcement got us thinking about exit lines. And so we've gathered the most unconvincing sayonara statements in recent memory. You won't have these guys to kick around anymore ...
And which direction is that? Steve Spurrier, upon resignation as coach of the Washington Redskins last week, after racking up a 12-20 record over two seasons: "I believe that the franchise is headed in the right direction."
Um ... never mind: Chris Lehane, less than a week before resigning amid tumult as aide to Sen. John Kerry, "There will be no [staff] changes."
When Rolaids aren't enough: Jerry Krause, upon resigning as the Chicago Bulls' executive vice president for basketball operations after 18 years with the organization, the last five of which were not too stellar: "The rigors and stress of the job have caused me some minor physical problems in the past few years. Those problems can be eliminated if I lessen my load for a while and concentrate on overcoming them."
Out of hot water and into the fire? Dick Rivera, upon stepping down -- just yesterday -- as the head honcho of Red Lobster restaurants, where sales have plummeted over the last couple of years like a crustacean with a stone in its gut: "I'm looking forward to my next opportunity."
Going out with a bang: Jerry Oliver, the Detroit police chief, who resigned after a loaded handgun was discovered in his luggage at Detroit Metropolitan Airport, claimed that he had absolutely no idea he needed to declare his weapon and said he was leaving office so as not to become a "media sideshow."
Special posthumous mention: Sadegh Khalkhali, the first leader of the Islamic Revolutionary Courts in Iran after the 1979 revolution, who ordered the execution of hundreds of people back when he was in power and died of Parkinson's disease a few weeks ago, took the "no regrets" brand of resignation to a new level, writing, "I killed over 500 criminals close to the royal family, hundreds of rebels of Kurdistan, Gonbad and Khuzestan regions, and many drug smugglers. I feel no regret or guilt over the executions. Yet I think I killed little. There were many more who deserved to be killed but I could not get my hands on them."
Pregnant Friend: Courtney Cox confirms that she and her husband, David Arquette, are expecting a baby after years of trying. (Reuters)
Sacred union: Gwyneth Paltrow says her relationship with Chris Martin is "so sacred that I feel talking about it is just wrong, in every bone in my body." (Vanity Fair via USA Today)
Rumor debunked: Coroner says Princess Diana was not pregnant when she died, adds, " I have seen into her womb." (CNN International)
Click ... ka-ching! Magazines pay top dollar for pix of Britney Spears and hubby-for-a-second Jason Allen Alexander on wedding night, including one snapped by a guy waiting next to them for a marriage license. (USA Today)
Another springtime for Hitler on-screen: "The Producers" will be made into a movie ... again. Lane and Broderick set to star. (N.Y. Newsday)
She'll be back? California first lady Maria Shriver rumored to be fighting to keep job at "Dateline" amid talk of conflict of interest. (L.A. Times)
Linda Wells, who issued Britney Spears and Jason Allen Alexander their marriage license in Vegas, on the couple's obvious lack of chemistry: "They looked like two strangers. They didn't talk to each other, hold hands or do nothing. They stood 3 feet away from each other. I see people do everything but jump into the sack in front of this window. I thought this was unusual." (N.Y. Daily News)
Additional reporting by Christopher Farah.