Ben Silverman Bets Career on Knight Rider, Product Placement

Say what you will about Ben Silverman, but it’s almost impossible not to like co-chairman of NBC Entertainment, a man who refers to himself unapologetically as an “airplane chairman.” (Granted, we don’t work for him.)

As Richard Siklos’ profile in Fortune makes very clear, the talent scout-turned-producer-turned-exec is either going to save the network with his focus on product placement or absolutely go down in flames.

His success, apparently, relies on the success of product placement in the shows he signs off on. Does anyone think this is a good idea?

With Silverman and Marc Graboff at the helm, the company’s entertainment division should net $300 million in profit this year, although the primetime division is still losing money. Furthermore, while none of the Peacock’s entertainment shows are in top 20, four of them place in the top 10 when measured by product placement.

Siklos explains how this came about:

Silverman’s biggest bet for the season may be My Own Worst Enemy. For that show, he courted General Motors and the show’s human star, Christian Slater, with equal zeal.

Whatever happens, it’s going to be fun to watch the “persona that seems equal measures Ferris Bueller and Sean “P. Diddy” Combs” navigate the murky waters of television.