Quotable Ben Silverman

By semi-popular demand – as a follow up to my Ben Silverman post, here’s some of the quotes I had transcribed before abandoning that article. There’s nothing earth-shattering about them since they’re from an event about a year ago and the man is not exactly press-shy so he’s said similar things elsewhere.

On the new job as NBC’s head: “It’s harder than I thought it would be. It’s a big, big ship. I’m in the oil tanker. And to move the oil tanker sometimes takes a mile. And I’m used to driving a fastboat. I definitely want to do a lot. I want to do it fast. But it’s hard. It’s harder than I thought. … I’ve got to stay the course and make sure this tanker turns.

“Everybody gets home after a busy day and the cacophony of their cell phone and their workplace and the amount of messages flooded at them and the despair of what’s going on in the geopolitical environment, and then they got one kid on a Sidekick and one kid around a video game and they can barely wrangle everyone around a dinner table to order pizza let alone cook, and I think television is still the escape. I still think you need to look at how you as a consumer watch television. I like to sit down and watch television. I want to come home and turn on my TV and play with my remote and I will discover something that will arrest me when I’m changing those channels. So I’m going to look to find those kinds of programs. But also that watercooler. Despite the fact that The Office goes onto iTunes the next day … that watercooler conversation is still part of our culture.”

“We believe in comedy in a big way. We have a huge Thursday night comedy lineup. I believe in multi-camera comedy. … Comedy is a great escape but it’s also a great forum to deal with issues that have been swept under the carpet: racism, class, terrorism, great tradition of breaking down walls, new families based around friends and brothers and sisters and single moms and dads.”

“I’m in a rare situation where I didn’t need this job, I wanted this job.”

“I want to create an environment that says this is a place that supports creative people.”

“I’m very conscious of making sure we have multiple genres on air, and great shows. It is easier to jump start with reality and the fact is, getting idea to market is quicker with a reality show than it is with a scripted show. We’ll be looking to get some great reality shows on air.”

“What’s changing is the distribution method. What’s not changing is the desire of the audience to consume high quality programming. And television is still by far the most powerful medium for creating brands, launching brands and influencing consumers, whether it’s to buy soap, watch another television show, or to build a business off your own television show, to extend your show into the online community.”

“The shows where audiences watched commercials the most were the high end upscale shows. The Office in fact was the number one show in which the audience watched the commercials, which I thought was kind of fascinating because I don’t think you would have expected that. … You’d think they’d be the ones most driven to DVRs … I think that has to do with engagement, and the fact that they are more engaged with shows that they think are more challenging.”

On finding out NBC had two executives dedicated to Second Life – they’d recently had a Christmas tree lighting in the virtual world: “After I discovered we had two execs I asked how many pepole did the tree lighting and it was something like 4,000 whereas 10 million watched the TV show. The reality is the numbers are not quite there yet. We’re looking at creating audience and building community in a more profound way and hopefully those numbers will continue to increase. “

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