Silverman previously ran the production company Reveille, which brought shows such as The Office and Ugly Betty to US TV networks. His time at NBC was a roller coaster, filled with big (but not always successful) ideas like Jay Leno's move to 10 p.m., shows based on "the greatest stories ever told," and revivals of former hits like Knight Rider and American Gladiators. He also ran afoul of striking writers back in 2008 when he referred to them as "the nerdiest, ugliest, meanest kids in the high school" trying to cancel the prom (aka the Golden Globes). But on the positive side, he worked hard to find ways to keep shows like Friday Night Lights and Chuck on the air.
In Silverman's place at NBC will be Jeff Gaspin, who's been running NBC's cable division since 2007. Silverman, meanwhile, is starting a new and as-yet-unnamed venture with Barry Diller's IAC to create and distribute media across different platforms.
NBC's been struggling in the ratings since before Silverman took over, though the network always performs well when it comes to Emmy nominations. I imagine the jury will be out on his time at NBC until we see how NBC's new shows — including Trauma and Parenthood — perform this season. Meanwhile, what do you make of this news?
There's been some less-than-encouraging news this week for Parks and Recreation, NBC's upcoming comedy starring Amy Poehler. A focus group study found some pretty serious problems with an early cut of the show, which premieres April 9, including: The pacing's too slow, it's too much like The Office, and there's a lack of "datable" men.
First of all, Aziz Ansari is totally datable. But moving on: NBC's Ben Silverman isn't concerned about these results, saying such focus group findings aren't unusual for new shows. "If you had seen the initial research on all of ours and our competitors' successful shows, it tends to be like that," Silverman told Entertainment Weekly. And getting good focus group results definitely doesn't guarantee success, because Journeyman tested great back in '07 and where is it now? Not on TV, that's for sure.
I hope NBC gives Parks and Recreation some time to find its footing. After all, those early episodes of The Office were pretty slow and a little too close to the British show that inspired it, but it didn't take long to come into its own. Having read the pilot script, I do think some of the criticisms are valid (the show could stand to get away from "the pit" — the empty lot that Poehler's character and Rashida Jones's character want to turn into a park — and tell other stories about bumbling local government officials). But all pilots have their issues. This one has such high expectations that lowering them a little couldn't really hurt. And besides, would another Office-esque show really be the worst thing NBC could put on the air?
Photo courtesy of NBC
Break out the wrist corsages and sparkly tiaras — it's prom week! Yes, I know it's only January, but the pop culture universe has brought everyone's favorite spring formal back this week, big time. Consider:
I'm not sure what caused this sudden prom frenzy, but — just like real prom — I'm fretting less about that and more about whether anyone will ask me to the dance. Think Michael Cera would be my date?
Who would've thought we'd get two pieces of David Hasselhoff-related news in one week? On the heels of the new Hoff comedy comes the news that NBC wants to revive "Knight Rider," the show that first made Hoff famous.
According to Variety, NBC is planning a two-hour TV movie that could serve as a pilot for an updated series. Apparently, NBC entertainment chairman Ben Silverman was so taken by this summer's updated Transformers movie that he wants to bring the '80s series back — now with [insert TV-announcer voice here] shape-shifting cars! There might be evil cars this time, too, but Variety assures us that the story " is expected to essentially remain focused on the story of a single man fighting for justice with the help of his superadvanced car." The TV movie could be on the air sometime in the spring, with a potential series coming next fall.
I think it's funny that Silverman's line of thinking on this one seems to boil down to "transforming cars rule, dudez!" Also, I'm guessing this will turn into one giant advertisement for whichever car company decides to sponsor it. I'm too young to remember much about "Knight Rider" in its prime, so I'll defer to those of you who are a bit older: Is this sacrelige?