Ben Silverman, the man who was supposed to lead NBC back to the top of the ratings mountain, is leaving the network after two years on the job and no change in the standings.
Silverman is "returning to his entrepreneurial roots," as an NBC press release puts it, to form a new multimedia venture with media mogul Barry Diller. He'll stay at the network for a short time to help launch the fall schedule, then depart.
NBC Universal has also reorganized its executive structure a bit in the wake of Silverman's departure. He had been co-chairman of NBC Entertainment and Universal Media Studios with Marc Graboff; Graboff will keep the chairman title but will report to Jeff Gaspin, who has the new title of chairman of NBC Universal Television Entertainment.
Gaspin was already the head of NBC Universal's cable portfolio and is now adding broadcast TV to his purview as well.
Silverman's two-year tenure was a roller coaster. NBC has been stuck in fourth place in the ratings for the past couple seasons, but Silverman's vaunted success as a producer — he counts "The Office," "Ugly Betty" and "The Biggest Loser" among his credits — didn't translate to hits when he became a network executive.
None of the shows NBC launched last fall made it to a second season. Last December, NBC gave responsibility for prime-time programming to Angela Bromstad and Paul Telegdy, removing Silverman from the programming side.
Silverman's deal with Diller's IAC calls for the formation of a new company that will "unite producers, creators, advertisers and distributors under one roof and produce all forms of content for distribution across a variety of platforms." NBC Universal is considering investing in the new venture and will have "platform partnerships" with it as it gets rolling.
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