Ben Silverman out at NBC

The long national nightmare is over – the Bulls Ballboy is moving on.

NBC Entertainment Co-Chairman Ben Silverman resigned today after two years to start a new company with Barry Diller’s IAC. He’s essentially returning to his entrepreneurial roots: he founded production company Reville, producers of The Office and Ugly Betty.

His replacement is Jeff Gaspin, who will now add the responsibilities of the NBC Television Network in addition to NBC Universal’s cable properties, where he was successful with continuing revenue growth for USA, Bravo, Oxygen, and other NBC-owned cable outlets.

Marc Graboff will continue in his role as the other entertainment co-chairman of NBC.

Silverman’s legacy (if you can call it that) has been a tumulus one, with the entertainment chief failing to find a single hit show (sorry, Parks and Recreation doesn’t count), presiding over the deterioration of several others (notably Heroes), launching forgettable shows (Kath & Kim, The Chopping Block, Howie Do It), reviving shows that were only mid-level hits (American Gladiators, Knight Rider, Bionic Woman), airing too many episodes of Deal or No Deal in prime-time (which led to its demise in that daypart) and bringing back idiot reality shows that failed (I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here!)

In addition, there have been allegations of drug use and wild partying leveled at Silverman, and the interference it caused at his job.

In the meantime, NBC remained mired deep in fourth place, with ratings continuing to decline.

Affiliates unmoved by announcement

Meanwhile, NBC affiliates had a “meh”-like reaction to the announcement that NBC Co-Chairman Ben Silverman was leaving.

There was actually support for Silverman at some stations, saying two years wasn’t enough time to make any difference.

Others said they could use some fresh blood at the peacock network in hopes to generate a couple of new prime-time hits.

But for the most part, affiliates said the move doesn’t really affect them.

Despite NBC’s prime-time woes, many affiliates’ ratings – notably in late news, haven’t been really affected. While some have lost ground (e.g. KSDK in St. Louis ceding the #1 late news slot to CBS affiliate KMOV), others have remained the status quo in their overall rankings. For example, NBC affiliates in Washington, D.C. (WRC, an O&O), Detroit (WDIV), Minneapolis-St. Paul (KARE), Denver (KUSA), Baltimore (WBAL), Sacramento (KCRA), Memphis (WMC), and Providence (WJAR) have remained either at or near the top of the local ratings, especially in news.

In Chicago, NBC-owned WMAQ-TV has recently seen growth for its 10 p.m. newscast this year, while its main competitors slipped. WTMJ-TV in Milwaukee won the 10 p.m. news race in the May sweeps, as it has done for decades.

But the overall consensus of it all was, what Silverman put on the screen just wasn’t working. And the Nielsen ratings told the story.

T Dog’s Think Tank Archive: Zucker, Silverman have got to go

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