Friday, 12 December 2008

Hollywood Babble On & On #204: Silverman Stays?

According to the always indefatigable Nikki Finke, Ben Silverman, recently described by late night comic Craig Ferguson as "to NBC what Mugabe is to Zimbabwe" just got his contract renewed by honcho Jeff Zucker, despite flagging ratings, crappy shows, and otherwise being viewed as a joke.

So the question on everyone's lips is why?

Why would Jeff Zucker, who many claim bumbled into his present position through luck and timing, keep on a man whose only skill is selling foreign show concepts to other executives?

I can only think of 3 possible reasons.

1. Zucker can't bring himself to admit making a mistake when he hired Silverman in the first place, and would rather watch an entire network crash and burn than do anything to fix it.

2. Zucker is keeping Silverman in place to ensure that no one at NBC gets to a high enough position to threaten his own employment, knowing full well that Silverman has risen well beyond his level of incompetence, and is most likely stuck there. He's staying, because he can't unseat Zucker himself.

3. Silverman has some sort of incriminating photos, video, or fingerprints, belonging to Zucker and/or members of the GE board of directors. But this is probably the least likely of the three possibilities.

Now I'm not going to be completely down on Silverman. His record shows that he is a good salesman, especially to other Hollywood executives. He did well as an agent, his work as a producer was basically pitching European and Latin American shows to USA based networks, something he did well too, and he was able to sell himself as executive material to Zucker.

So I will give him his props for that.

However, he just doesn't seem cut out for the suit.

He appears to like the glamour and status of being a "mogul," but doesn't look like he has the capacity for the administrative drudgery that needs to be done to make a network run. His only ideas seem to be cutbacks, and more cutbacks. If this keeps up, by fall 2009, the NBC lineup will consist of the Today show, Silverman hosting
Deal Or No Deal, because Howie Mandel got too expensive, and Jay Leno at 10 PM and his only guest will be Jeff Zucker.

I can only see one way out for NBC-Universal...
You can't blame me for trying.

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