After a rocky two year stint at NBC Universal ending in July 2009, Ben Silverman is set to head a new television marketing venture financed by mogul Barry Diller. Silverman became a prominent public figure when he was named as Co-Chairman, NBC Entertainment and NBC Universal Television Studio…more
Silverman describes himself as "totally liberal", and is not afraid to admit that he uses his programming to try to influence viewers' attitudes. He does not see his activism as a conflict of interest in his role at NBC.
Silverman is known in Hollywood for his charisma and charm as well as hard partying lifestyle. He sometimes double or triple books dinner meetings and is proud to be out holding business meetings in bars and nightclubs around the clock. He even co-owns Socialista, a club in Manhattan.
Silverman cites shows such as St. Elsewhere, Hill Street Blues, and The Cosby Show not only as his childhood favorites, but also as having an influence on his identity. These all aired on NBC in the 80's.
Silverman claims his role models are Norman Lear and Brandon Tartikoff.
Silverman retains a financial stake in shows developed at Reveille (his production company) before the date he took over at NBC, but cannot gain from those going forward. G.E. (NBC parent company) has designated a conflict of interest policy and procedure specifically to evaluate Silverman's dealings with Reveille in the future. This does allow him the ability to green light shows from which he may financially gain.
Shows in which Silverman has been involved have collectively earned over 100 Emmy nominations in three years (2006-2008). He personally had one Emmy win as Executive Producer of The Office, Outstanding Comedy Series, 2006. He shared this honor with 7 other producers.
Silverman was actively pursued for the job at NBC despite the fact that NBC had recently extended Kevin Reilly's contract for another 3 years for essentially the same position. Once Silverman accepted, Reilly asked to be released from his new contact and has since taken the same position at FOX resulting in something of a rivalry.
Silverman was named one of People magazine's "Hottest 25 Bachelors" in 2003.
Silverman was awarded the Honorary Rose D'Or in 2008. This is a prestigious European Television award.
In a highly controversial move, Silverman admitted in 2008 that he is managing NBC Entertainment to concentrate on profit rather than high ratings.
Silverman had no previous network experience when hired for the top Entertainment job at NBC, but the company was so impressed with him that they partnered him with Marc Graboff, a lawyer and business-affairs veteran so as to have the best of both worlds.
Although he gives no time frame, Silverman often speaks openly about his eventual plans to run for public office.
While on vacation in London, Silverman made a snap decision the very first time he saw the British version of The Office that he would bring it to the US audience.
Being both Jewish and a philanphropist, Silverman is active in "Seeds of Peace," a group whose goal is to bring together young people from war-torn counties. It began with a meeting and a mitzvah, joining kids from Israel, the PLO, and Egypt, and now is active in many other nations.
Mom is Mary D. Silverman, a cable executive who has held high level positions at Court TV and USA Network among others. His father is Tony award nominated composer, Stanley Silverman.
Silverman: I want to be aspirational. I want to be positive. I think people are so busy and overwhelmed in their lives and have so much choice, but also a cacophony exploding in their brain, and they look to television to disengage from that. I want to create environments that are warm and places they want to be-whether funny places or happy places or aspirational places. I want to lighten up the air.
I also want to be pro-social and conscious and deliver through humor, character and narrative strong emotional connection. I want to find quality that has inherent touchpoints that could make it mass. I wouldn't make shows about Hollywood. There's just certain things I wouldn't do based on my knowledge of them being too coastal.
Silverman: All my life I've wanted to be running a studio, but in an independent, out-of-the-box way. I've built up enough of a track record with broadcasters that they're willing to take a gamble.
Silverman: I wanted to run NBC. I didn't want to run CBS or ABC -- I wanted something specific. And if you have that goal from age ten, you probably have a good chance to get there if you're continuously thinking about it.
Silverman: The industry hasn't seen an executive like me in a long time. Traditionally, development executives rise through a specific subsection of the TV business -- prime time, network, scripted programming. They're basically D-girls. That's what [ABC Entertainment president] Steve McPherson is, that's what [Fox Entertainment president] Kevin Reilly is. That's bad vernacular, but they're all D-girls.