This is one whopper of a walk of shame. Ben Silverman, the mind that brought deadweights Knight Rider, Kath & Kim, and My Own Worst Enemy to NBC, is leaving the company and returning to his roots in the television production business.
Silverman took over programming for The Peacock back in 2007 as co-chairman of NBC Entertainment, and was hailed as the saviour for the network that had seen its prestige fall off a cliff. Instead of saving the network, he jackhammered it further into the ground thanks to greenlighting legendarily awful programs like the ones mentioned above. The 38-year old was also accused of spending too much time on the party scene and sleeping off the good times rather than returning NBC to its glory.
Now Silverman is forming a production company with internet specialists IAC for programming on multiple media platforms, including television and the Web. This field is where Silverman rose to fame; his previous company Reveille was responsible for such shows as The Office and Ugly Betty.
NBC is painting this as a mutual decision, but don't be surprised if there was a gentle push behind the scenes.
Heading things up at NBC now will be Jeff Gaspin, who previously served as president of Universal Television Group. Marc Graboff, who served as co-chairman with Silverman, will now report to Gaspin.
As usual, the the outspoken Nikki Finke of LA Weekly has the best quote on the corporate drama: "So all that time Marc Graboff had to play the adult while his co-chairman Ben Silverman acted like an unruly child, all that time Graboff kept the trains running while Silverman screwed up over and over again, was for naught. Instead of rewarding him... he now humiliatingly has to report to Gaspin."
Finally Silverman is out. But does this mean NBC still has a shot at getting back on top, or has irreparable damage already been done?