NBC’s Silverman Getting Contract Extention; Hearst Still Looking For New CEO

With the near-daily flow of media industry layoffs, two big execs may get to keep their jobs, at least for a while longer. Although NBC’s broadcast ratings have been in the tank for some time, NBC Universal (NYSE: GE) CEO Jeff Zucker is inclined to extend Ben Silverman’s contract as co-chairman of NBC Entertainment and NBC Universal Television Studio for at least another year, NY Post reports, citing unidentified sources. Silverman’s contract expires in June. Zucker is said to feel that Silverman, who was hired as chief programmer in May 2007, deserves a chance to work during a normal season. Last year’s writers’ strike caused a serious disruption to the network’s schedule. NYP’s sources also say that Zucker regards Silverman as “the best dealmaker in town” and that he “brings the show and the business together better than anybody.” Other sources view Silverman as an absentee programmer and should be held accountable for the network’s poor ratings performance.

Update: In an interview with B&C, Zucker confirmed that Silverman will sign a new contract with NBCU.

— Hearst’s interim CEO Frank Bennack Jr. may want to hold on to his post, but the publisher is denying earlier reports that the search for a new chief exec has been called off, Reuters says. Back in June, Victor F. Ganzi stepped down as president and CEO. He replaced Bennack, who left the post the first time in 2002.

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