Ben Silverman leaves NBC for 'multi-platform' production company

Phil McCarten/Reuters
Ben Silverman, co-chairman of NBC Entertainment, speaks during the 'Reinventing Hollywood' panel at the Fortune Tech Brainstorm 2009 in Pasadena, California in July.

Say so long to the boy wonder.

Two years after he was promoted to co-chairman of NBC Entertainment and Universal Media Studios, relative youngster Ben Silverman is departing to take a job with the Internet company IAC. Silverman, who formerly headed up an independent firm called Reveille, was recruited in 2007 to help rejuvenate the NBC line-up, which was then slumping in the ratings.

He oversaw a handful of hits, including "The Office," but NBC remained stuck in last place during Silverman's reign, prompting rumors that he was pushed out of a job. At IAC, Silverman will help develop content for TV, mobile devices, and the Web, Reuters reports. In an interview with The New York Times, Silverman said NBC supported his move to IAC.

“I am invested in what happens in the fall, and they are invested in my helping with the transition," he said.

Writing on Gawker, Richard Lawson called the move "bad embarrassing news for Silverman, who was heralded back in 2007 as the coming of a new era." Lawson pointed to the success of "The Office," but argued that most everything on NBC had fared poorly:

None of the big hour-long programs that rolled out under Silverman's watch made much of an impact. Not "Heroes" (though, admittedly, that was developed before Silverman took over), not "Knight Rider," not "Southland," not "Chuck," not "My Own Worst Enemy." Plus the buzzed-about comedy "Kath & Kim" proved a complete disaster and old warhorses like "Law & Order: SVU" seemed to be graying around the edges.

So what will Silverman do at IAC? That part remains pretty vague. Apparently, Silverman will be developing some sort of network, which will bridge the gap – an increasingly thin gap these days – between entertainment and editorial content and advertising. His project, IAC said in a press release, will be "the industry's first global platform that connects advertisers, distributors, and content creators early on in the development process, enabling advertisers to be a partner in campaigns and content creation."


If you can translate that last line, drop us a line in the comments section, or on Twitter, @CSMHorizonsBlog.

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