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Former reality producer Ben Silverman leaving NBC for new venture

By Christopher Rocchio, 07/27/2009 

Ben Silverman is out at NBC.

The former reality television producer has announced he is leaving his job as NBC's programming chief for a partnership with IAC to form a new multimedia production and distribution company.

"Ben Silverman has many exciting things he wants to accomplish and we applaud him as he sets off on his new endeavors," said NBC Universal president Jeff Zucker.

"Ben brought us tremendous new thinking in this changing media age, and we're grateful for that. Now, we look forward to working with him in his new venture."

Silverman was hired as NBC Entertainment and NBC Universal Television Studio co-chairman in June 2007 and subsequently sold his Reveille television production and distribution company for $125 million to Shine Ltd. -- a British production company owned by Rupert Murdoch's daughter Elisabeth.

Now Silverman is getting back into the production and distribution business, as his new agreement with IAC will have him producing numerous forms of content for distribution across a variety of media platforms around the world.

"Media is being consumed across an increasing number of platforms, including TV, the internet, mobile, and DVR. The next generation of media will be defined by the players who can capitalize on those trends and deliver integrated, compelling content across all platforms," said Silverman.

"Uniting advertisers and content creators will fundamentally improve quality and enable a fluid production and distribution model."

On the same day Silverman announced his departure, NBC tapped Jeff Gaspin as the new chairman of NBC Entertainment and NBC Universal Television.  Silverman will remain in his NBC role for several weeks to assist Gaspin in launching the network's upcoming fall schedule.

Gaspin previously worked as a programming executive at VH1 and NBC and also served as Bravo's president earlier this decade -- overseeing the development of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, Project Runway and Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List, among other shows.

He has worked as NBC Universal's COO since February 2007, meaning he already had management responsibility for the television group's portfolio of cable networks, which includes USA, Sci Fi, Bravo, Oxygen, Universal HD, Sleuth and Chiller, as well as its interests in A&E and History Channel.

"I can't think of a more important time to take on this expanded role. Our industry is going through one of the most profound changes in history and I look forward to using all that I have learned to help build the NBC Universal assets through this period of unprecedented evolution," said Gaspin.

"NBC remains one of the strongest brands in television and I am excited to work with the talented executives at the network and Universal Media Studios."

Marc Graboff -- was hired as NBC Entertainment and NBC Universal Television Studio co-chairman along with Silverman -- will continue in that role and report to Gaspin.

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