How Ben Silverman Really Entertained Us

Slate's Culture Blog
July 27 2009 1:29 PM

How Ben Silverman Really Entertained Us

Please join us in warmly congratulating Ben Silverman on today's announcement that his career is still viable. It's not surprising that Silverman, hanging up his hat as an NBC programming executive at the end of his first contract, should have landed a new gig. Because he founded the production company Reveille, which adapted The Office for the U.S., Silverman will never be entirely without something to brag about, and because he is, at 38, the smarmiest showbiz exec of his generation, he will never be shy about bragging. His new producing partnership with Barry Diller is a natural next step after his remarkable performance over the last two years at NBC.

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Of course, what made those two years so remarkable was Silverman's actual public performance as a network head, which was vastly more entertaining than the programming schedules he doltishly approved and cravenly promoted on behalf of his last-place network. Everyone who reads the trades knows this. The fun began on June 15, 2007, when Nikki Finke suggested that Silverman was " the most off-the-hook network executive that Hollywood has ever seen " before he'd even taken his company-mandated drug test, which he took an awfully long time to take.

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Soon, Silverman was running his mouth foolishly in Esquire and on Page Six , and we were off to the races, and some people with only the most casual interest in the TV industry became acquainted with his buffoonery. Amplifying his poor judgment and personal boorishiness by behaving with the grandiosity of a mogul, Silverman crossed over and became a chattering-class celebrity. His name is now writ on a very short list of legendary showbiz jackasses.

Kudos, Ben! We wish you more of the same in your future endeavors.

Photograph of Ben Silverman courtesy of Jason Merritt/Getty Images.

Troy Patterson is Slate's writer at large and writes the Gentleman Scholar column.

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