I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here: Ben Silverman’s Latest Folly

Who’s devaluing whom?

We’ve never really understood the rationale that drove network-television executives to completely abandon the 90 or so days that fall between Memorial Day and Labor Day. After all, it’s not like people stop watching television just because it’s warmer outside than it was a few weeks ago. Case in point, ABC was able to get 8.4 million people to tune in last night just to see random people getting punched in the nards while running through a water-filled obstacle course. Unfortunately, though, NBC hasn’t had the same luck getting people to tune into their reboot of I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here. Despite the (on-and-off) presence of MTV staples Spencer Pratt and Heidi Montag, the show’s ratings fell 15 percent from Monday to Tuesday night and then another 22 percent last night. While it’s not entirely surprising to discover that there aren’t too many folks out there who want to watch Frangela avoid showering for three consecutive weeks, the Hollywood Reporter’s James Hibberd is reporting that the program is eroding Ben Silverman’s already shaky reputation in the television community.

The primary issue at question involves something that occurred during Monday night’s premiere episode of the show. After realizing that he and his new (fake?) wife really did have to stay in the jungle and not in some luxury hotel, The Hills’ Spencer Pratt threw a hissy fit and put a call directly in to Ben Silverman to complain that the show’s D-list cast members were “devaluing my fame.” Yes, that’s right, Pratt’s petulant whining wasn’t handled by one of the show’s on-site producers or off-site EPs, but rather by the co-chairman of NBC’s entertainment group. This surprising turn of events led an insider to e-mail James Hibberd:

“Why would Silverman even touch the phone for this guy,” e-mailed another insider. “Silverman devalued his own fame by talking to that douche-nozzle. How many agents, managers, NBC’s own talent can’t get Ben on the phone, but by god, he’ll take Spencer’s call?”

This led Hibberd to editorialize “Can you imagine Coach from Survivor getting Les Moonves on the horn? Melissa Rycroft on a Dancing With the Stars results show calling Steve McPherson for a pep talk?” We certainly can’t; at this point, we can only assume that Ben Silverman didn’t recognize the area code on his caller ID and mistakenly assumed that it was his white-tiger wrangler calling to confirm this weekend’s plans.

NBC’s suspect ‘I’m a Celebrity’ mess [Live Feed/HR]

I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here: Ben Silverman’s Latest Folly