Barry Diller selected the wrong guy. Ben Silverman, on whose watch NBC stoked the fires of its reputation with “America’s Biggest Loser,” “The Apprentice” and retread “Knight Rider,” has not been renewed and will embark on a new venture with Barry Diller. Moving into Mr. Silverman’s slot as head of programming at NBC is Jeff Gaspin, the cable executive responsible for USA Network and Bravo. Mr. Gaspin has been aiding and abetting some of the cooler new programs in my book.
This is a very good move. Mr. Silverman, a self-professed rock star, needed to be a TV programming star…and wasn’t. NBC, like ABC and CBS, has been a real dog lately. Reality shows are so God-awful that people can’t tune away fast enough. I don’t subscribe to HBO but watched an episode of “Hung” on CastTV yesterday and there was more brilliance and drama in one 5 minute segment than on a full week’s worth of NBC (now that ER is off the air). The best people on TV – the most interesting people on TV – are, indeed, “characters.” They are welcome and they are real. That is what viewers want to watch today. Real, not reality shows. Not fabricated individuals with high Q scores. Mr. Gaspin sees this and will shake it up come January. Peace!