Ben Silverman leaves NBC; cable boss Jeff Gaspin takes role

Ben Silverman, the co-chairman of NBC Universal Entertainment, is leaving the company to start up a new venture with IAC.
July 27, 2009

Ben Silverman, the co-chairman of NBC Entertainment and Universal Media Studios, is leaving the company to start up a new venture with IAC.

NBC has announced that Jeff Gaspin, previously president and COO of the Universal Television Group, will take the role of chairman, NBC Universal Television Entertainment, effective immediately. He will assume the new duties on top of managing his cable portfolio, which includes USA, SyFy, Bravo and Oxygen in addition to overseeing the company’s television distribution. The move has consolidated all of NBC’s television properties under one roof, creating a new structure.

Jeff Zucker, President and CEO, NBC Universal, has said in a release, ‘Ben Silverman has many exciting things he wants to accomplish and we applaud him as he sets off on his new endeavors. 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’s two-year contract with NBC expired this summer, but in previous interviews with Zucker, it was expected to be extended. Marc Graboff, who has also been co-chairman, will continue as chairman, NBC Entertainment and Universal Media Studios, reporting to Gaspin.

Silverman is returning to the entrepreneurial world by entering a partnership with Barry Diller’s media and Internet company, IAC, to start up a new company. The as-yet-unnamed company will be a mixture of ‘Warner Brothers meets BBDO,’ bringing together talent and advertising. Silverman came to NBC from his own independent company Reveille, which were behind NBC hits The Biggest Loser and The Office.

Silverman will transition out of his NBC role by continuing to look after the fall slate, and will remain with the company for several weeks.

NBC’s cable group has grown substantially under Gaspin’s leadership, with the addition of Oxygen in 2007 and in 2008, the establishment of the Universal Cable Productions television studio.

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