Silverman the peacock at NBC-Uni’s pre-Emmy party
By Alex Ben Block
HOLLYWOOD, CA. (Hollywood Today) – 916/07 – Alec Baldwin warmly greeted “Monk star and fellow Emmy nominee Tony Shaloub on Sunday evening in the back room at Spago in Beverly Hills during NBC Universal’s night-before-the-Emmys party, where everyone was still a winner, or at least a potential winner.
Yet no one was more of a star at the bash than Ben Silverman, the youthful new co-chairman of the peacock network, who is also the first producer in 34 years to have two nominees in the best comedy category.
Helping pack the party with so many people the Fire Marshall was holding a lottery at the front door were Baldwin’s fellow “30 Rock” cast members Jane Krakowski and producer, star and nominee Tina Fey, “Desperate Housewives” Kyle Maclachlan, “Heroes” Milo Ventimiglia, talk show host Carson Daly, first time nominee Rainn Wilson from “The Office,” and adding a little D-list charm, Kathy Griffin, already an Emmy winner, having copped Outstanding Reality Program last weekend.
None of them however had the wattage of Silverman, the slender, likable 37-year-old producer turned network executive. Working the room like a seasoned politician, Silverman greeted friends and colleagues and his fellow nominees. Silverman is not only the co-chairman of NBC, which has shows up for Emmys such as “30 Rock” and “Heroes;” but also personally produced “The Office” and ABC’s “Ugly Betty” last year while still a producer and head of Reveille Productions.
In fact, as Silverman confirmed with a big grin on Sunday evening, he is the first producer to have two nominations in the comedy category in 34 years, since the feat was achieved by Silverman’s hero producer Norman Lear, who in 1973 received comedy nods for both “All in the Family” and “Maude.”
Like Lear, who recently got a development deal at NBC, Silverman isn’t your typical buttoned down executives. He favors casual dress, personal relationships with talent and when the opportunity arises, he isn’t shy about promoting himself.
That is exactly what he has done on the eve of the Emmys, with his first big interview just out in W magazine. Silverman says he is the right person for the job of turning around NBC at this moment. “I think I am the audience, you know what I mean? I viscerally respond. I am conceptual and a dealmaker,” he said in an interview. “Those are things that usually don’t all come in the same package. I am the perfect storm for making a television executive.”
Big talk for an executive yet to survive his first fall premiere week, but understandable. The coming season may bring real storm clouds, as NBC fights to get out of fourth place in the network race, but for this night Silverman was basking in the glow of being one of the most powerful people in television, while still young enough to enjoy the perks that go with the job.
Tonight we will see if he takes his first step up toward success leaping onto the stage at the Shrine Auditorium in downtown Los Angeles to accept an Emmy or two.