Ben Silverman Sick and Nervous In His National Debut


FBLA guest blogger Dan Cox mined the cavernous troll-infested passages of TCA this morning, and files this bit of sparkly goodness:

Newly named NBC Entertainment co-chairman Ben Silverman looked particularly coiffed in that “I don’t give a shit” disheveled kind of way as he was faced for the first time with about 100 teeth-gnashing journos at a Critics Association breakfast with NBC co-chair Mark Graboff at the Los Angeles Hilton this morning.

Silverman, for better or worse, held his own.

“He knows that he’s in show business,” says J. Max Robins, editor in chief of Broadcast and Cable, who watched the fracas unfold.

Still, we detected the slightest scent of fear on Silverman. In his
unbuttoned white shirt, dark jacket and loafers, the smiling former William Morris agent was quick to field numerous questions about NBC’s sagging second-place sked, the potential of new stars, the conflict over whether he’ll divest his interest in production company Reveille Entertainment (he won’t) and his and Graboff’s controversial displacement of former chair Kevin Reilly last month.

“I have immense power,” Silverman boasted. “This is what I’ve always wanted to do. I always knew the place where I would have the greatest opportunity would be a network. I’ve wanted to do this since I was a young person.”

The journos wanted a piece of Silverman, but they were quick to laugh at his jokes and applaud his network’s new efforts, which include:

* Bringing All in the Family creator Norman Lear back to work on a new one-hour comedy.

* Former Grey’s Anatomy star Isaiah Washington’s return to network TV as a guest star on The Bionic Woman after being forced out for uttering an anti-gay slur.

* Donald Trump’s new version of The Apprentice, this time targeted toward celebrities who operate their own businesses. His first guest, Silverman and Graboffs seriously maintained, will be Rosie O’Donnell.

* A new way-out-there reality show for Uri Geller and Chris Angel called Phenomenon, based on a hit Israeli TV show, where Silverman said he expects viewers to be able to learn to turn on their TVs without using their hands.

* A new mini-relationship with comedian Jerry Seinfeld to come back to NBC and network TV in a small recurring role on 30 Rock.

Silverman ended the conference with typical TV closure: “Stay tuned.” Then he demanded that the Hilton play a recorded version of the NBC chimes: “Give me the chimes. Give me the chimes.”

Apparently, Silverman brings a small version of the chimes to any lunches he has with journalist just so he can play them. Nice touch?