Ray Richmond is contributing to Deadline’s TCA coverage.
Ex-NBC programming chief Ben Silverman was back in a familiar spot this morning: At TCA in Pasadena, representing NBC. But this isn’t 2009, and there is a different guy atop of NBC Entertainment in Bob Greenblatt. Silverman was here as executive producer of the new NBC reality competition series Fashion Star that features host Elle Macpherson and mentors Jessica Simpson, Nicole Richie and John Varvatos. So it was a different Silverman — more relaxed to be sure — but also in many ways the same guy: He still looked fashion-plate lean and the epitome of shrewd salesman. Silverman admitted that he didn’t see Greenblatt’s session earlier in the morning, quipping, “They were doing my hair.” Also not changed from the time Silverman was in Greenblatt’s chair is the plight of NBC, which continues to be stuck in fourth place, something the Jeff Zucker-Ben Silverman regime contributed to. When a critic pointed out that Greenblatt painted “such a sad picture” of NBC during his presentation, Silverman replied: “I’m thrilled to be making this show on NBC. I can’t imagine a better time period on television than following The Biggest Loser (also produced by Silverman) for the audience we want. … I feel incredibly happy and excited, and I’m betting on Bob. I love his creativity.” And how does it feel for Silverman to be back with so many of his “friends” in the media some 28 months after leaving the network amidst wide criticism? “You were always friends when the shows were good,” he replied. Fast forward to today. “Fashion Star is really good. I think the relationship is anew.”