Endangered List: Ben Silverman


Ben Silverman has been running NBC for two years now and the network still doesn’t have a new monster hit or even a concept to hang its hat on.

What it does have is a boss who gets more publicity for dancing around in a towel (and lets himself be caught on video doing it) than he has for doing anything productive at the network.

And with the network television ad sales season ready to start this week, The Times decided Silverman was ready for one of those profiles where all his boss Jeff Zucker, co-workers and associates say he’s doing a great job, adjusting to life inside a media monolith and learning how a network boss should behave (i.e. ixnay on the bikini girl parties with caged tigers hanging around). Uh-oh. The lawyers have been on the phone since noon Friday.

Anyway, with all those testimonials, he’s likely to not make the end of the year, but here are some things that could save his job:

  • Cop show Southland goes from a small-time, critically-acclaimed hit to a show that people actually watch (and Hulu) in significant numbers.
  • Americans start loving luge so much that NBC’s Winter Olympics success rivals that of the the Michael Phelps games last summer.
  • Jay Leno hits an absolute home run at 10 p.m.–so much so that another network copies the move and dumps scripted shows for the last hour of prime time.
  • His new right-hand woman, Angela Bromstad, is as good as her press and turns the schedule around.
  • GE sells NBCU to someone who becomes as cluelessly enamoured with Silverman as Jeff Zucker is.

The Times did a great chart of Silverman’s time at NBC>

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