Monday, July 27, 2009

The man who gave Jay Leno the 10 PM slot is leaving NBC

Ben Silverman, co-chairman of NBC Entertainment Studios and Universal Media Studios, is leaving that job and will be replaced by Jeff Gaspin, president and COO of the Universal Television Group (responsible for NBC's cable properties, including Bravo, Syfy and Oxygen).

Variety reports that Silverman will stay at the Peacock "for several weeks to assist in the launch of NBC's fall schedule," but after that, he'll be leaving to start a new production company for his former business partner and backer Barry Diller.

Silverman's two-year tenure at NBC failed to pull the network out of last place; some of his flops included "Knight Rider," "The Bionic Woman," and "My Own Worst Enemy." In an interview with, Silverman says that "fall will be where my story at NBC really gets written," citing the Joel McHale sitcom "Community" and "The Jay Leno Show" as "exactly the kind of things I wanted to champion, and was able to take the time to push through."

One of Silverman's big ideas for saving network TV in the DVR era: paid product placements. "The McDonald’s deal that we made with Jay confirms what I saw as Jay’s ability to be DVR proof, topical, day and date and to deliver," he told PaidContent's Staci D. Kramer. "McDonald’s, this great bleeding edge marketer, saw this an opportunity to play out their Monopoly game. What’s the greatest place to pay it off where you can also drive people into McDonald’s? The Jay Leno show. Better than anything else they can do. That’s an example of the kind of validation that we’ll continue to see with Jay’s show. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. I know the first couple of weeks will be great but it’ll also be great in nine months in the summer when he’s up against repeats."

Will McHale be plugging Bic pens, Mead notebooks and No-Doz during his sitcom, which is set at a community college? Stay tuned.


  1. Anonymous said...

    I think Ben went a little overboard with the whole product placement thing. Like his resignation was sponsored by the company that makes those lighted "Exit" signs.

    - Octobrain

  2. Anonymous said...

    I wont be watching Lenos show so I wont know what the product placements will be like, but it sounds so cheap to have that in the middle of a show, even if its subtle and not direct.

    Santiago R.