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TV's Hot Property

TV's Hot PropertyBen Silverman has built a successful career discovering the “next big thing.” Now, the Tufts graduate has become a “hot property,” himself. New York City.

Medford/Somerville, Mass. [07.02.03] Ben Silverman has played an important role in changing the face of American television. Over the last few years, the television executive and Tufts graduate has brought a slew of top reality TV programs from Europe to the United States with great success. Now, with several new shows about to hit the networks, Silverman's reputation as one of entertainment's hottest properties continues to grow - fueled most recently by People Magazine's decision to name him as one of its Top 25 bachelors.

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"While working in London for the William Morris Agency, Silverman helped bring ‘The Weakest Link' and ‘Who Wants To Be A Millionaire' to American audiences," reported People, which listed Silverman alongside Prince William, Keanu Reeves and others on its annual list of top bachelors. "Now, as CEO of Reveille Studios, he's unleashing a new reality show, ‘The Restaurant,' next month and a sitcom ‘Coupling' in the fall, both on NBC."

Both are expected to be as successful as some of Silverman's earlier offerings.

"The beauty of NBC's ‘The Restaurant,' is that it's a glimpse of everything you never get to see: what your waiter says about you after he walks away, the chef dropping f-bombs in the kitchen, the mirror-fogging high jinks in the restroom," reported Newsweek. "For [the show's producer, Mark] Burnett, ‘The Restaurant' was an opportunity to stay one step ahead in the cutthroat reality-TV game."

It's a game that few have mastered. But Silverman has steadily emerged as one of the executives who always appears to be ahead of the curve.

"I was always impressed with how entrepreneurial Ben was and how interested he was in things outside his immediate purview in the U.S.," Michael Jackson - CEO and chairman of USA Entertainment - told The Daily Variety. "He scored not once, but several times."

A history major who graduated magna cum laude from Tufts in 1992, Silverman got his start developing sitcoms and live action projects for Marvel Entertainment. He then joined William Morris, where he was appointed the youngest division head in the company's history.

It was there, that he discovered the untapped possibilities of European television, bringing ‘Millionaire,' ‘Big Brother,' ‘Weakest Link' and ‘Queer as Folk' to American audiences.

In 2002, Silverman's string of big hits helped him broker a deal with Universal Television to create Reveille - his own TV and film production company.

"All my life I've wanted to be running a studio, but in an independent, out-of-the-box way," the Tufts graduate told Variety. "I've built up enough of a track record with broadcasters that they're willing to take a gamble."

A little more than a year later, the gamble is already paying off.

"The Restaurant" is slated to debut on NBC on July 10. "Coupling" - adapted from a British sitcom of the same name - landed one of the most highly sought-after time slots for the fall season and is believed to be NBC's eventual replacement for "Friends," now winding up its 10-year run on the network.

"'Coupling' is billed by NBC as ‘provocative' and the show's BBC predecessor certainly lives up to that description," reported the BPI Entertainment Newswire.

Silverman's version of the BBC hit has even generated some unexpected international attention.

"NBC's raunchy new sitcom ‘Coupling' is about to become the poster child for the globalism of television production," reported The Hollywood Reporter. "The U.S. series is based on a popular British comedy, but many European TV buyers at the Los Angeles Screenings [in May] want to take home the American version for their Euro viewers. Some foreign TV buyers at the screenings went so far as to state that they would actually prefer to air the American version that is being distributed worldwide by Universal."

"Coupling" appears to be another success for Silverman, who is proving to have just as much savvy for choosing sitcoms as he does for reality TV programs.

But, ironically, Silverman told People that he could never make it as an on-screen character on the very programs that have been a staple of his career.

"I wouldn't want my life exposed that much to anyone," he told People.

(Photo courtesy of People Magazine.)

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