Silverman Out, Gaspin New NBC TV Chairman
Jeff Gaspin, president and COO of the Universal Television Group, expands his role at NBC, being named chairman, NBC Universal Television Entertainment. Marc Graboff, who has also been co-chairman, will continue as chairman, NBC Entertainment and Universal Media Studios, reporting to Gaspin.
Silverman has been a high-profile, under-the-gun TV executive, trying to right the fourth-place network. He came to the network two years ago, ironically replacing Kevin Reilly in June 2007 -- just after the upfront presentation and prior to the Television Critics Tour Association. Gaspin comes aboard in the same time frame.
Before coming to NBC, Silverman, under his Reveille production company, was known for producing a number of successful shows, such as "The Biggest Loser" and "The Office" on NBC and "Ugly Betty" on ABC.
Unfortunately, Silverman could not turn that magic on for NBC. Big concept shows, such as "Knight Rider" and "Merlin," as well as comedies like "Kath & Kim," tanked. At the same time, one of NBC's biggest and most promising dramas, "Heroes," continued to drop in the ratings. Other shows, such as "American Gladiators," seemed to prosper for a time.
Silverman will now go back to his entrepreneurial roots. It was also announced that he and Barry Diller's IAC company would form a new venture to be run by Silverman, which will produce content for the Internet, TV and other platforms and search for additional investors.
NBC Universal will have a relationship with the new Silverman venture. IAC was an early backer of Silverman's Reveille production company.
Jeff Zucker, president/CEO of NBC Universal, has credited Silverman with lowering the cost to produce many shows -- making the division more profitable. To achieve this end, Silverman steered all his new programs into brand entertainment deals with marketers.
Gaspin has overseen the company's entertainment cable networks including USA Network, SyFy, Bravo, Oxygen, Universal HD, Sleuth and Chiller, as well as its interests in the A&E and History networks.
In addition, Gaspin oversees the company's television distribution, including linear, digital and wireless, off-net syndication and first-run efforts, as well as the Telemundo broadcast network and its owned stations.
Zucker, in a press release, said: "Jeff Gaspin is an extraordinary media professional who has had an incredible record of success in his 25 years in the business. He's a strong creative executive who also has the business acumen necessary to succeed in today's media environment. This new structure helps us align all of our television entertainment assets under one veteran executive at a time when continued innovation is essential."