Ben Silverman is vacating his position as co-chairman of NBC Entertainment and Universal Media Studios, after two-plus years on the job.
Silverman will remain on board for several weeks to assist in the launch of fourth-place NBC's fall schedule, the network said in a news release. Jeff Gaspin, president and CEO of the NBC Universal Television Entertainment, has been promoted to chairman (where he will report to NBC Universal CEO Jeff Zucker), effective immediately.
As a founder of the Reveille production house, Silverman executive-produced such hits as The Office, Ugly Betty and The Biggest Loser. He also is credited with helping save the critically acclaimed Friday Night Lights through an innovative cost-sharing deal with DirecTV (which gets first dibs on new episodes).
Big-picture ratings success, however, eluded Silverman during his reign. A full 20 of the 25 shows that debuted during his tenure have now been canceled; Chuck, Southland and Parks and Recreation are the only continuing scripted programs.
Upon his exit from NBC, Silverman will form a new media company with IAC's Barry Diller, one of Reveille's first investors. The as-yet-unnamed business will invite develop content for TV, the Internet and other mediums with upfront involvement from advertisers.
The venture, Diller said in a news release, "will take full advantage of all areas of Ben Silverman's extensive media expertise — as an agent, producer and advertising innovator— to create a truly integrated and truly interactive new media production entity... that bridges the gap between traditional television and the Internet."
Silverman spearheaded a similar effort with NBC's annual "Infront" event, by which advertisers get involved very early on in a show's production process, allowing for greater product integration — thus offsetting costs for producers.