SILVERMAN TO TAME PEACOCK

NBC is expected to announce as early as today (Tuesday) that Ben Silverman will receive a key position with the network that will put him in charge of its West Coast operations, according to published reports. He will effectively replace NBC Entertainment President Kevin Reilly, the network's chief programmer, and also reportedly assume control over NBC's in-house production studio, which presumably will be merged with his own production company, Reveille, responsible for the American version of The Office on NBC and Ugly Betty on ABC, among other programs. Silverman recently indicated that he plans to produce a U.S. version of the enormously popular Eurovision inernational music contest for NBC. Reporting on the pending deal with Silverman, Daily Variety commented today (Tuesday) that NBC chief Jeff Zucker "is counting on the flashy, energetic Reveille topper (and former agent) to help reinvent NBC Entertainment and push the network out of the ratings cellar. The clumsy way in which Silverman's still-pending deal has been handled -- many would say mishandled -- certainly starts things off on a rocky note, however."

NETWORKS NOW FORCED TO CRAM TOP SHOWS INTO THREE NIGHTS

With American Idol dominating Tuesday and Wednesday nights during the second half of each season and television viewers -- particularly younger ones -- abandoning their TV sets on Friday and Saturday nights, broadcast network executives are being forced to cram all of their strongest programs into just three nights of the week -- Sundays, Mondays and Thursdays, Broadcasting & Cable observed today (Tuesday). "There are a lot of good shows facing a lot of good competition," an unidentified network executive told the trade publication. "It used to be that they could be spread out over an entire week, but there's not a lot of open real estate anymore." The result was ratings erosion for all but 13 series on the TV networks this past season, B&C reported.

ALL NEW SUMMER SHOWS ON TNT AND TBS TO BE STREAMED ON WEB

TNT and TBS will become the first cable networks to stream full runs of new original series online when TNT's The Closer, Heartland, Saving Grace, and The Company and TBS's House of Payne, The Bill Engvall Show, My Boys, and The Frank Show debut this summer. The Turner Broadcasting cable networks's shows will be available on TNT.tv and TBS.com the day after they run on cable and each episode will remain online for about a month.

SHARP TO INTRODUCE SMALLEST DVD PLAYER

Sharp has displayed an optical-drive player, which it says is the smallest in the world, that will play CDs, conventional DVDs, HD DVDs, and Blu-ray high-definition discs. The player also uses very little power (10mW), making it ideal for playing discs on laptop computers. Moreover, Sharp said that it expects that the retail price for the device will be less than $100 when it becomes available in mid-June.

ASIAN CREWS ENGAGED IN LATEST STAR WARS

Lucasfilm's computer-animated The Clone Wars, due to debut on television in the fall of 2008, is being produced not only at the company's headquarters in Marin County but also in Asia, where 100 employees are working on the project at a 40,000 square-foot facility in Singapore, the Los Angeles Times reported today (Tuesday). Executive producer Catherine Winder told the newspaper that the company also employs specialized workers in 33 countries. A preview of the series was greeted with "thunderous" applause at last weekend's Star Wars convention in Los Angeles. (It has now been posted online at starwars.com.) Winder also told the BBC that Lucasfilm Animation is working on a feature film, but she did not indicate whether it is related to the Star Wars project.

Brian B. at Movieweb
Brian B.