How bad is NBC's fall lineup? So bad! In fact, according to Vulture buddy Nikki Finke, NBC Universal boss Jeff Zucker is so convinced that Knight Rider and Crusoe will be ratings disasters that he's already planning for a future without handsome network wunderkind Ben Silverman, whose fault they mostly are. Well, whose fault they would mostly be if he ever came to work, we suppose.
According to Finke's sources, Silverman was out of the office for nearly the entire month of August (he purportedly finally showed up last Thursday) because he's been summering on Elisabeth Murdoch's yacht and filing hilarious on-the-scene reports for Ryan Seacrest's radio show from the Beijing Olympics (these sound like totally reasonable excuses to us). Also, there's the small matter of his alleged "excessive off-hours drinking and drug-taking," which has "prompted complaints from Hollywood's TV community" (apparently the night before he reportedly blew off a meeting with Ari Emmanuel, he was, says Finke, "widely observed 'high as a kite'" at a cancer benefit). In his absence, he's been delegating to NBC's EVP Teri Weinberg — the former development exec he brought to the network from Reveille, his old production company — who, according to Finke's source, is "too inexperienced to be thrown into the deep end of running a broadcast network" (she's also "on the chopping block," says Finke, for, among other things, creating a conflict of interest by ordering shows from her live-in boyfriend's production company).
Finke hears that NBC is hoping he "jumps before he is pushed," which is probably likely since he'll be difficult to fire if he's always in China or on a yacht. Still, though — and forgive us if we're being too obvious — isn't the clear solution here to make Ben Silverman the subject of his own reality show, thereby saving NBC's fall schedule and encouraging more of his irresponsible and hilarious behavior? We know we'd rather watch Ben Silverman: Chaotic than his Knight Rider remake.