'Inspirational' series for NBC, Silverman says

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NEW YORK -- Ben Silverman, the newly appointed co-chairman of NBC Entertainment and NBC Universal Television Studio, took the stage twice at the 66th annual Peabody Awards to accept awards for ABC's "Ugly Betty" and NBC's "The Office," both products of his Reveille banner.

Backstage, he said that even though he was now with NBC, he would keep his executive producer credit for "Betty" and that he would like to bring shows of that ilk -- "inspirational, fun" and demographically diverse -- to NBC.

"I'm looking forward to imbuing that into programming," he said, noting that he was pro-social consciousness. "I want to amplify that and pump that up."

When asked about "The Apprentice," which was left off the fall schedule, leading to tension with creator Donald Trump, Silverman noted that he has not officially taken the reins at NBC but that he called Trump and executive producer Mark Burnett and asked to speak with them this week about the program.

Silverman said that he likes "Apprentice" a lot and believes that it has the potential to be NBC's "American Idol." He said he wants to figure out why the ratings went south and that he plans to put momentum back in the series.

Silverman also said that he has high hopes for NBC's Thursday night comedy lineup, which, despite critical acclaim, has struggled in the ratings. He noted that he thinks "30 Rock" will catch on more with fans during its second season, the same way "Office" did.
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