Is Ben Silverman's Role at Electus About to Change?

9:31 AM PST 07/30/2013 by Kim Masters
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The former NBC programmer launched the company in 2009 with backing from Barry Diller's IAC, which is renegotiating Silverman's deal and could ask him to play a reduced role.

Ben Silverman is negotiating to extend his deal at Electus, the television and digital production company he founded in 2009, and sources tell The Hollywood Reporter that his role at the company could change significantly.

Financed by Barry Diller's IAC, Electus is behind unscripted TV shows such as NBC's now-canceled Fashion Star and TNT's The Hero, as well as digital content created with an eye toward product integration. Silverman has been running the company as its chairman, but several sources believe he may segue into a role as a producer.

In that case, Chris Grant, currently CEO of the company, could take over day-to-day leadership with COO and head of digital Drew Buckley.

A rep for IAC acknowledges contract talks with Silverman but dismisses speculation about his future. "IAC is in negotiations with Ben Silverman to extend his contract with Electus," says the IAC rep. "Anything else that is being reported on this is nonsense." Silverman's contract is set to expire in a year.

Sources say the impetus for the change is Diller's frustration with Silverman's management style. In an all-staff email sent in October 2012, IAC chief financial officer Jeff Kip cited a 200 percent revenue increase at Electus but provided no numbers.

Silverman launched Electus after his short and tumultuous stint as entertainment co-chair of NBC, where he was known for a freewheeling approach and flamboyant parties. Before landing the NBC job, Silverman was a successful producer whose Reveille company produced The Office and Ugly Betty.

E-mail: Kim.Masters@THR.com
Twitter: @KimMasters

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