Silverman aims for realistic TV

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Ben Silverman, founder and CEO of Reveille Llc., said he tries to incorporate positive messages into his TV series but noted that being overly politically correct can make programming unrealistic.

Silverman, the featured speaker Wednesday night during the Museum of Television & Radio's Industry Forum cocktail reception in Beverly Hills, noted the importance of casting minorities in multilayered roles -- for example, he cited Hispanic actress America Ferrera's title role on ABC's "Ugly Betty," which he executive produces.

"But if you're always casting cops with minorities and criminals with the majority, that doesn't play in the reality of the real world," said Silverman, who cited producer Norman Lear as one of his role models.

Silverman said he tries to include positive messages in his programs, citing such Reveille series as "30 Days" on FX and "The Biggest Loser" on NBC as examples.

"TV is an unbelievable medium for influencing people and creating conversations," he said. "We try to do good and send strong messages."

Silverman also noted that he's been "basically successful, but I would love to have one Aaron Spelling show," citing the legendary producer's series concepts, ratings, the deals he was able to orchestrate and his ability to produce shows for a network without having to go through the network's sister studio.

"That's part of deregulation, and we're living with the outcome of that," Silverman said.

Wednesday's event marked the kickoff of the museum's 2006-07 Industry Forum series and was the first to take place at night rather than during lunch. The next speaker will be David Katz, head of Yahoo! Sports and Yahoo! Studios, during a Nov. 9 luncheon at the museum.
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