Ben Silverman’s decision to put trusted aide Teri Weinberg in charge of scripted development at NBC is another signal that the Peacock’s new entertainment co-chief plans to shake things up in a big way.
As expected, Weinberg was tapped Monday to serve as exec veep of NBC Entertainment, putting her in charge of all scripted series development for the net (Daily Variety, June 4). She’ll report to Silverman and Marc Graboff, who serve as co-chairmen of both NBC Entertainment and the Peacock’s studio arm.
Weinberg replaces Katherine Pope, who exited this week to become prexy of NBC U Television Studio. But Silverman hinted that, long-term, Weinberg’s role could expand to include some of the duties held by ousted NBC Entertainment prexy Kevin Reilly.
“I’m almost willing to bet that Teri will be doing more,” Silverman told Daily Variety, adding that Weinberg will be “working across all scripted shows,” including those already on the air.
For now, however, Weinberg will focus on developing projects, with the heads of comedy and drama development reporting to her. Execs running current programs, reality, daytime and latenight will report to Silverman and Graboff.
Silverman said he approached Weinberg over Memorial Day weekend, briefing her on his new gig and inviting her to leave her post as head of scripted development at Reveille and join him at NBC.
“Teri is the best creative executive I know,” Silverman said. “We’ve had a great relationship with NBC. It made so much sense for us to be together here.”
Weinberg said she had to “think long and hard” about making the move but said she also “thought very quickly.”
Ultimately, “I couldn’t imagine not being with (Silverman) at NBC,” she said.
Like Silverman, Weinberg has her roots in the agency world, having worked as a TV talent agent at ICM. She also comes to NBC with no experience working at a network or studio.
That means she’ll have something of a learning curve to undergo, especially in the insular community of development execs.
“It’s a huge job, and you have enormous volume the likes of which she or Ben haven’t seen before,” said one former network exec. “It’s a little risky.”
Same exec, however, noted that bringing in fresh blood may not be the worst idea for a network as entrenched in fourth place as NBC is.
“Sometimes it’s good to have someone who isn’t burned out with the process,” the person said. “If the networks are guilty of anything, it’s overmanaging, giving too many notes. If you simplify the process, you might be better off.”
Weinberg argued that her new job isn’t as big of a leap as it may seem.
“It’s definitely bigger in scale, but I was managing casts and crews of 150 on our shows at Reveille,” she said, adding that the programming philosophy she and Silverman have espoused won’t change that much at NBC.
“We make the shows we love and would want to watch,” she said. “We have to reach wide audiences, but we also have to continue to trust our taste and be fearless.”
Weinberg also pointed out that Reveille has been based at NBC in one form or another for all of its life, making her new job not as much of a stretch as it might have been had she gone to another net.
During her 5½ years at Reveille, Weinberg developed some misses (“Coupling”) and several success stories (“The Office,” “Ugly Betty,” “The Tudors”). Studio was known for having a high percentage of pilots ordered to series, which speaks to Weinberg’s and Silverman’s ability to target development properly.
Silverman also cast a vote for stability by signing off on Pope’s ascension to prexy of the studio, where the bulk of the Peacock’s scripted shows originate. Pope gives Silverman the inside knowledge of NBC and the development process that he lacks.
As for other potential exec changes, Silverman and Weinberg said it was too soon to say who will stay or go. Weinberg did offer a vote of confidence in comedy chief Jeff Ingold and drama topper Katie O’Connell.
“I have complete trust and faith in both of them,” she said. “But my title was announced about 45 minutes ago. I’m anxious to sit down with everyone and discuss everything.”