July 27, 2009

bye bye ben

Pardon me while I analyze some industry news today. NBC has announced that Ben Silverman is leaving his post as co-chairman to head InterActiveCorp (IAC) a production and multimedia company.

Silverman has only been with NBC for 2 years, becoming perhaps the most public network executive (a frequent offender on Ryan Seacrest's radio show). He developed a reputation for shaking things up but never doing much to pull NBC out of the number 4 spot to which it tragically fell. Ben's probably most noted for more aggressive advertising strategies leading to more product placement and sponsorship (Chuck's love for Subway), but not so noted for successful new programming during his reign. The most recent decision to place The Jay Leno Show in the 10pm timeslot being the most controversial decision among fans of NBC shows of yesteryear.

To be fair, Silverman is also responsible for some good in this world. Prior to NBC, he founded a production company called Reveille, created to bring international formats to the U.S. audience. At Reveille, he brought us such gems as The Office, Ugly Betty, and The Biggest Loser.

It's was obvious pretty quickly that he was brought into NBC to make money for the struggling network, and he made some big changes to the ad strategy, so it's not surprising that he's heading to IAC to work on ad strategies for new media projects.

Silverman will be replaced by Jeff Gaspin, current president and chief operating officer of the company's cable entertainment group. Don't know much about him, but it will be interesting to see if he assumes an equally public role.


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