NBC’s Ben Silverman is on a shortlist of names drawn up by headhunters looking for a CEO of struggling U.K. terrestrial giant ITV. Silverman once worked in the U.K. office of WMA, packaging Euro formats such as “Big Brother” for the U.S. prior before returning home and starting Reveille.
Silverman refused to comment.
Joost’s Mike Volpi; Belgian exec Guillaume de Posch, former topper at German web ProSiebenSat.1; and Michael Jackson, former boss of British web Channel 4, are also thought to be in the running.
Two key names are missing from the list: Tony Ball, the former BSkyB topper believed to be favored by key ITV stockholders, and Stephen Carter, the communications minister who stands down in July following last week’s Digital Britain report and whose name has been linked to the job.
Ball is believed to have entertained hopes that by securing backing from ITV’s key investors, including Citigroup, he could have landed the gig without going through the format recruitment process.
Last week Ball, who began his TV career at ITV station Thames, was appointed a non-executive director at U.K. telco British Telecom.
In view of the serious plight ITV finds itself in — the company recently reported a loss of £2.7 billon ($4.4 million) — the headhunters are casting their net further than usual.
Meanwhile CEO of Channel 4, Andy Duncan, intends to stay in his post despite a widespread view that his protracted campaign for a public subsidy has ended in failure.
In the view of most experts, last week’s Digital Britain report, which recommended BBC Worldwide form a joint venture with Channel 4, made dismal reading for Duncan and Channel 4.
But he told British newspaper, the Observer, that he is not thinking of ankling and intends to stay on board for “another two or three years.”