“Ben Silverman is the best-known and most beloved television executive on Madison Avenue,” Zucker said. “The timing has absolutely nothing to do with our fall schedule.” No changes are planned to that schedule, the executives said. Silverman founded Reveille, which specialized in adapting overseas television programming for American audiences. He played a role in bringing series like “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire,” “Big Brother” and “The Biggest Loser” to the U.S. Silverman will continue to own Reveille, although he will not benefit financially from any projects going forward. The company will continue for two years its deal offering NBC Universal a first look at everything it develops. Silverman and Graboff will both be responsible for all of NBC’s prime-time, daytime and late-night programming. Both will report to NBC Universal President Jeff Zucker, with Graboff concentrating on the business side and Silverman on creative efforts and scheduling. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! NEW YORK – Fourth-place NBC fired chief programming executive Kevin Reilly on Tuesday only three months after giving him a new three-year contract. Reilly was replaced by the two-man team of Ben Silverman and Marc Graboff. Silverman owned a production company responsible for bringing shows like “The Office” and “Ugly Betty” to American television, while Graboff has been a veteran TV executive concentrating primarily on the business side. NBC Universal acted quickly because it was eager to bring on Silverman, who had told NBC Universal chief executive Jeff Zucker within the past two weeks that he was thinking of selling Reveille Productions, his independent firm. “This was really much more about a moment in time with regard to Ben Silverman than it was about anybody else,” Zucker said. Silverman said that he considered the late NBC entertainment executive Brandon Tartikoff a mentor and that he grew up as a latchkey kid in New York watching NBC. “This has been a dream job for me ever since I was a little kid. “I want to find big shows that are quality shows,” Silverman said. “To me, the hallmark will be quality with noise.” Despite developing “Heroes” and receiving critical praise for shows like “Friday Night Lights,” Reilly had been unable to stop NBC’s long slide from the heyday of “Friends” and “Seinfeld.” The network had two of its least-watched weeks in memory in April, and watched from the sidelines as Fox’s “American Idol” and ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy” generated heat in May. The firing comes at an awkward time for parent company NBC Universal, less than two weeks after NBC released a new fall schedule to lukewarm response and just as NBC is preparing to sell commercial time for next fall.
Concerned about the role power lines may have had in last week’s wildfires, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors directed officials Tuesday to investigate strengthening lines most susceptible to collapsing during high winds. “It’s not officially confirmed, but widely suspected, that in the case of the Malibu fire power lines were blown down (and ignited the fire),” Chairman Zev Yaroslavsky said. “We can’t underground all the power lines. It’s exceedingly expensive. But beyond that, what can we do to better secure those lines? This isn’t the first time this has happened, or the second time, but the 18th time fires have been started because of downed power lines.” The supervisors directed Fire Department and other officials to examine why power lines may have failed and determine what measures can be taken to strengthen them. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! But beyond the expense of putting power lines underground, funding for such efforts is heavily restricted. Certain sources of funding, for example, may not be combined with other funds to pay for putting lines underground. Yaroslavsky said such restrictions should be lifted in areas deemed high fire hazard zones. Supervisors also directed officials to assess the county’s response to the recent fires and whether it offers any new lessons. “The fire and sheriff’s departments worked extremely collaboratively to evacuate and save thousands of lives and property,” Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich said. “A large part of their success in managing this disaster is the result of lessons learned from prior disasters and ongoing emergency preparedness exercises.”