TCA: Ben Silverman Says 'Fashion Star' Prize 'Well Over $6 Million'

Ben Silverman TCA - P 2012
Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

Ben Silverman TCA - P 2012

The former NBC entertainment topper returns to the network in March with a consumer-driven spin on "Project Runway" -- and he promises huge winnings for the victor.

When X-Factor named Melanie Amaro the winner of its freshman season, she walked away with a $5 million record contract -- something Fox lauded as the largest prize in reality history.

Ben Silverman says he can top that.

The former co-chair of NBC Entertainment returns to the network in March with Fashion Star, a reality venture from his multimedia studio, Electus. And when addressing members of the Television Critics Association's winter press tour in Pasadena, the EP promised big returns for the winning designer.

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Silverman said "well over $6 million" will go to the winner when their collection is sold to either H&M, Macy's and Saks Fifth Avenue, the series participating retailers.

Each episode, the winning design will go be available the next day in one of the stores, with the victor at the end of the season getting their own capsule collection.

"Unlike other shows, you're voting with your pocketbook and you can wear the winner," said Silverman. "You're not waiting till the end of the season to see a winner of the show."

Fashion star, hosted by Elle MacPherson and highlighting design mentors Nicole Richie, Jessica Simpson and John Varvatos, is banking on audiences shopping in stores and online, making the real stakes higher than just ratings.

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And as for an audience, Silverman seemed confident in their post-Biggest Loser timeslot.

"I'm very happy to have all those women coming to watch that show," Silverman said of Loser, which he helped create and still serves as producer for. "The audience competition is perfect for this show."

He was also candid about the nature of this return to NBC after his controversial tenure.

"I'm bettin' on Bob," he said of new boss Greenblatt. When asked about his fiery relationship with the press, he quipped: "You guys were always our friends when the shows were good."