NBC Digital Under New Management

The digital end of NBC Entertainment came under new management Tuesday with the appointment of Ben Silverman and Marc Graboff as co-chairmen of NBC Entertainment and NBC Universal Television Studio.

Along with overseeing all aspects of the network's prime-time, late-night and daytime programming--along with the network and studio's creative, marketing, business and financial components--Silverman and Graboff will now run the entertainment division's digital efforts, including NBC.com.

Silverman--best known for producing "The Office," "Ugly Betty," and "The Biggest Loser," as well as bringing "Who Wants to be a Millionaire?" and "Big Brother" stateside--brings extensive digital expertise to his new role, according to NBC President and CEO Jeff Zucker.

"Ben has been a leader in creating digital extensions," Zucker said during a press call on Tuesday.

Kevin Reilly, who served as president of NBC Entertainment for the past three years, will leave the company.

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Jeff Gaspin, recently appointed president of NBC Universal Cable and Digital Content, will maintain his digital responsibilities with an added focus on content distribution efforts, according to Zucker.

In addition, Vivi Zigler, executive vice president, NBC digital entertainment and new media, will continue reporting to Gaspin along with Silverman and Graboff.

Despite NBC's continued failure to improve its prime-time rating, the management change was solely a result of Silverman's availability, Zucker said.

"This was really a matter of opportunity and Ben becoming available," he said. Zucker, though, did admit: "One of our major goals is to turn around NBC's prime-time performance."

Per the appointment, Silverman's production company, Reveille, is getting a two-year extension to the current first-look deal between it and NBCU. (NBCU, however, is not buying Reveille, as members of the media have speculated.) NBC's existing agreements with Reveille will be unaffected by Silverman's appointment, Zucker said.

The appointments represent another stage of NBC's realignment being implemented by the company's president-CEO Jeff Zucker.

In February, Beth Comstock was appointed president of NBC Universal Integrated Media, where she is now heading sales for two broadcast networks, several cable channels and all digital outlets. (Zucker set the bar high for Comstock--forecasting in December that NBCU could bring in $1 billion in digital revenue in 2009.)

Gaspin, meanwhile, was appointed president of NBC Universal Cable and Digital Content; he had long been responsible for the network's digital content as president of cable entertainment, digital content and cross-network strategy.

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