Vulture hero "Beijing" Ben Silverman, the impeccably eyebrowed NBC network wunderkind, might want to consider calling in sick (again) to the office today. After a fall season that has already seen heavily hyped, Silverman-shepherded productions like Lipstick Jungle and My Own Worst Enemy nosedive their way into cancellation, now Vulture buddy Nikki Finke and The Hollywood Reporter's James Hibberd are each reporting that NBC has ordered the struggling Knight Rider to halt its production upon completion of the show's seventeenth episode. This, after the network ordered a full, 22-episode season run of the
long-form Ford commercial show just six weeks ago.
Needless to say, this is not a good development for Beijing Ben. Finke, who's been actively crusading for Silverman's head on the pages of Deadline Hollywood Daily since he was appointed co-chairman of NBC Entertainment back in May 2007, is gleefully labeling the Silverman era as "a new network primetime record for failure." While we're not entirely convinced that Silverman's programming blunders can hold a candle to Lucie Salhany's mid-nineties reign at UPN (Homeboys in Space, anyone?), it's looking more and more like Silverman's career path may have finally diverged from the one that his personal hero, Brandon Tartikoff, blazed. Instead, chances are he'll end up in the history books with a tenure that more closely resembles Jamie Tarses's equally tumultuous run at ABC in the late nineties. But then again, we have learned to NEVER underestimate Silverman's prowess when it comes to evasive maneuvering/blame-shifting. Speaking of which, has anyone heard from Katherine Pope lately?