I often refer to Ben Silverman as “the gift that keeps on giving” because he provides me with so much material to deservedly humiliate him. And now he’s living up to that moniker. So where can you fail at your job and get rewarded for it? At NBC Entertainment/Universal Media Studios. But only if you’re Teri Weinberg, the Reveille development exec who was brought by Ben to NBC Entertainment and then booted in December but never actually shoved through the door. Well, now I’ve found out about her golden parachute, and it’s a soft landing indeed. I’m told she has just closed a 2-year 7-figure overall producing deal with NBC Entertainment and Universal Media Studios that also gives her a sizable discretionary fund to spend on development and the wherewithal to hire an executive. As part of the deal, she’s being brought on The Philanthropist as exec producer. Unfortunately for Ben, she’s named it “Yellow Brick Road”. (“I used to always fantasize that the road was infinite,” Teri told THR.)
My sources speculate that some of this is probably funded by money left on her contract, which wouldn’t have expired until the summer, so that’s being rolled into her new deal. But this is amazing since everyone for months and months told me she was a terrible executive (even though Ben calls her a “fantastic” producer). From the start, her appointment was seen as a major mistake because she wasn’t ready for such a major gig in charge of comedy, drama and a lot else. (As one insider put it to me, “Terry was too inexperienced to be thrown into the deep end of running a broadcast network with no experience. Yet Ben kept delegating it all to her.”) And as far back as August, NBC looked to be building a case to get rid of her when the network took the unusual, almost unprecedented, step of cancelling an exclusive contract for a team of TV writer/producers, paying them off to the tune of millions of dollars, and letting them take back every one of their projects developed at the network – all because one of the showrunners was Weinberg’s live-in boyfriend, and other producers and writers were bitching to NBC that she was showing him favoritism.
Today I heard that all programming, even at the start of development, has to go through GE Financing for approval first. Did this deal? All I can say is that Teri is fortunate to have Ben continue to look after her. But he also should be personally footing the bill for the bulk of her deal instead of charging it to GE shareholders.