NEW YORK Ben Silverman is out as co-chairman of NBC Entertainment and Universal Media Studios, both units of NBC Universal.
Jeff Gaspin has been named chairman, NBC Universal Television Entertainment, effective immediately.
Meanwhile, Barry Diller’s Internet juggernaut IAC said Monday it has struck a deal with Silverman to form a new company that will be run by Silverman and “unite producers, creators, advertisers and distributors under one roof.”
The venture will produce content for the Internet, TV and other platforms and look for additional investors. NBCU will continue to have a relationship with Silverman via the new venture through “platform partnerships” and a potential investment in the enterprise, said IAC.
The promotion of Gaspin expands his role to now include oversight of NBC Entertainment and Universal Media Studios in addition to his management responsibility for the company’s entertainment cable networks, including USA, SyFy and Bravo, among others. The cable channels have been the entertainment arm’s key growth assets.
Silverman will remain in his current role for several weeks to assist in the launch of NBC’s fall schedule. Marc Graboff, who has also been co-chairman, will continue now as chairman, NBC Entertainment and Universal Media Studios, reporting to Gaspin.
“Jeff Gaspin is an extraordinary media professional who has had an incredible record of success in his 25 years in the business,” said NBCU president and CEO Jeff Zucker. “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.”
IAC said its new venture with Silverman will be a global platform that connects advertisers, distributors and content creators early on in the development process, enabling advertisers to be partners in campaigns and content creation.
IAC chairman and CEO Diller said in a statement he hopes to tear down the silos of the entertainment industry.
“This new venture will take full advantage of all areas of Ben Silverman’s extensive media expertise — as an agent, producer and advertising innovator — to create a truly integrated and truly interactive new media production entity, a next generation enterprise that bridges the gap between traditional television and the internet,” Diller said.
Added Silverman: “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.”
IAC will provide initial capital to the venture, but it didn’t say how much. The parties said they plan to ultimately structure the venture “in a way that its results will not be consolidated with the financial results of IAC, whether through the participation of new investors or otherwise.”
Added NBCU’s Zucker: “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.”
Ryan Seacrest via Twitter (@RyanSeacrest) played a key role in the breaking news story Monday morning.
“Guy that runs NBC — put office, biggest looser etc on — is leaving to launch a new studio,” he said on the micro-blogging service. “Bringing together most creative stars and producers.” He added: “This means better shows from our favorite stars in u.s. and around the world. Ben Silverman just filling me in. This is big news in hwood.”
The more detailed tweets followed an earlier Seacrest tease on Twitter. Seacrest’s role immediately led to suggestions that he is already discussing a possible deal with Silverman’s new production outfit.