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mafia_wives_3.jpgFrom Variety "VH1 has found its own real housewives -- all of whom are married to the mob.  Cabler has given a 10-episode order to "Mafia Wives," the first collaboration between the Weinstein Co. and Ben Silverman's Electus."

Finally, thanks to Ben Silverman and Harvey Weinstein, the future of media is clear.  I think "Mafia Wives" will prove to be their finest hour and, most likely, their legacy.  Congratulations guys.

Ben (from Variety):  "Clearly, it's the world of 'The Sopranos' coming to life in a reality environment."  High standards, Ben, but I would expect no less... and the show is right in VH1's wheelhouse, if I may add.

I certainly hope this means we'll get to see real life Mafia Hits and a lot of violence (to accompany all that built in product placement that Electus will bring to the project).

I think I know why Ben was brought in by Harvey to help produce.  If, for whatever crazy reason, this show gets canceled, I can imagine how the conversation between Harvey and Ben will go:

ben_silverman_sunglasses.jpgHarvey (on the phone):  Hey Ben!

Ben (Eurotrash music thumps in the background):  Huh?!

Harvey:  I got a call from VH1, "Mafia Wives" is canceled - I would like you to tell the "Mafia Wives" in person.

Ben:  We can't cancel "Mafia Wives" - their husbands are violent criminals, they'll come after us.  They need that $20,000 a week we pay them for money laundering.

Harvey:  It's over, Ben.  This was your dumb idea.  You tell them.

Ben:  It wasn't my--

Harvey:  Shut up, Ben.  Do it!  And give me Barry Diller's number, I need to pay the light bill.

Five minutes later, Ben makes a call:

Ricky Van VeenHee hee heeee!!  Ah-oo-gah!  You've got Rickaaaiiiee--!!

Ben:  Cut the shit, Ricky.  I need you to do me a favor.  You know that show "Mafia Wives" - it's canceled.  There's a meat locker downtown where we have our production meetings, go down and tell them the show is toast.

Ricky Van Veen:  No problema, hip master B!
At least, I THINK that's how it would go.

I can't wait for this show.  And if it works, I certainly hope we'll see more wives of violent people.  It's just great television.  Maybe "Serial Killer Wives", "Terrorist Wives", "Dentist Wives" - it's just an endless brand and really plays into Ben Silverman's vision of the future of media. 

Ben, dude, you are hitting on all cylinders.

jill_kennedy_small.jpgJill Kennedy - OnMedea

ben_silverman_sunglasses.jpgSeriously?  Is this the guy you want to work for?  Ugh.  

Oh, well... It's just a shame. 

Tony, you have a reputation for being one of the good guys in Hollywood and you're going to work for Ben Silverman

Come on, man! 

I'm on-board with you wanting to leave MTV and get back to your real passion - being a content producer. 

I'm on-board with the company name - DiGaDi (Santo) and Ga (for partner Liz Gately).  DiGa.  I'm sure there is also some foreign word that it translates to that gives it another dimension.

What I'm not on-board with is you partnering with Electus

Every studio in town would most likely want to make a deal with you guys and now you're stuck going to Holiday parties with Ben Silverman and Ricky Van Veen

You're better than that, Tony!

Now, most people who read this blog regularly know that I haven't been too kind to Mr. Silverman over the past year or so (several examples are listed below)...

Example A; Example B; Example C; Example D; Example E; Example F; Example G; Example H; Example I; Example J; Example K; Example L; Example M; Example N

tony_disanto.jpg... but, Tony, you're being way too nice here.  You're actually giving Ben a hint of credibility.  Credibility that he doesn't deserve. 

However, maybe it's not over. 

Perhaps something can be done to stop it... something like Howard Beale in "Network" screaming to "Stop the CCA Deal now!" (fyi, the fictional Saudi Arabian deal with CCA - the parent company of fictional TV network UBS).

If enough people actually care, we could mobilize and march on Electus Headquarters (which I believe is the Wynn Resort Las Vegas) screaming over and over:  STOP THE DIGA / ELECTUS DEAL NOW!  STOP THE DIGA / ELECTUS DEAL NOW! 

Ah, nevermind.  Good luck, Tony

jill_kennedy_small.jpgJill Kennedy - OnMedea
ben_silverman_sharon_waxman.jpgBen Silverman needs to eat.  Wild eyed and gulag skinny, Ben took the stage at Sharon Waxman's "The Grill" (can't wait to blog about that some day) and continued to tell people he is changing the world. 

"I'm not 21 and still in my dorm room, but I think this company has an opportunity to be an enormous company in terms of its profitability.  I'll measure success in terms of impacting the audience, empowering storytelling and making dough."

That must be so encouraging to Barry Diller.  I'm sure he's licking his chops anticipating those Electus profits.  Seriously, where do I sign up?  How can I invest?  Ben is so focused on making money it doesn't look like he's slept a wink or ate a meal in months.  I mean, look at him - all disheveled and greasy - that's the face of success.

The Hollywood lifestyle has really done wonders for him.  I need to find out what multivitamin he takes.

From what I gather, here's what we can look forward to from Ben Silverman and Electus:

  • "Pedro & Maria" (MTV) brought to you by Proctor & Gamble.  Because nothing says Hispanic like Proctor & Gamble.  The show is basically a Romeo & Juliet remake (but waaaay cooler than Shakespeare with much better music).  I'll be looking out for a scene in a laundromat where Pedro or Maria are washing clothes with P&G's All-New Gain detergent with Stain Buster 4X.  Or worse, one will text the other "Can U p/u some PROCTOR & GAMBLE GAIN DETERGENT 4 me?"

  • "Master of the Mix" (MTV) brought to you by Smirnoff Vodka.  A reality show DJ competition.  Because only the best DJs drink Smirnoff.  And, remember, it takes a lot of Smirnoff to become a great DJ. 

ben_silverman_the_grill.jpgShows unlike any we've ever seen.  Great stuff, Ben

And these series perfectly embody the Electus manifesto:  "Allowing Content Creators and Branding Partners To Reach Audiences Like Never Before".  Because how else is MTV going to reach an audience?  Through its massive global reach and international marketing organization?  Unlikely.

And there is obviously a lot more to come from ElectusBen continued:  "We have relationships on a profound level with the A-list storytelling matrix in Hollywood and NYC.  Our goal is to win Golden Globes."

Lofty goals indeed, Ben.  But, why the fuck not?!  Greatness like this only comes around once every million years or so. 

So shoot for the moon, Ben, and even if you miss you'll land among the stars.

jill_kennedy_small.jpgJill Kennedy - OnMedea

electus_website_homepage.jpgApparently there is a new movie coming out called "Electus" and it looks like it stars Ben Silverman

This afternoon, I thought I would do a little checking up on Ben's $100 million dollar company and discovered that, unlike the way the website looked a month ago, there is actually some content now. 

Content starring Ben Silverman.

The content is a $100 million dollar sizzle reel with flying headlines glorifying the accomplishments of...  Ben Silverman

I stared at the video, with its horrible techno-pop / Eurotrash soundtrack (though fitting), in amazement.  Is this what revolution looks like?

Electus_chart.jpgI then went to the other page (yes, there is one other page on the site, you can't expect too much in one year) and discovered a chart

A chart that even a freakin' moron can understand. 

How can something that looks so simple (so elegant) and so "old media" change the world in such a profound way? 

I'm still trying to process how great it all is.  I'm seriously at a loss for words.

There is only one person on the planet that knows what the future of media looks like.  His name is Ben Silverman but he can't talk right now - he has an early morning call on the set of another sizzle reel he is starring in titled "Managing Expectations".

jill_kennedy_small.jpgJill Kennedy - OnMedea

jason_bateman_cuts_iphone_line_2.jpgWho cares?  He's a celebrity and celebrities win.  Deal with it.  No one would care if the Pope or Rupert Murdoch was moved to the front of the line.

I think the 'booing' was more because of the Orbit Gum Commercial Jason produced for DumbDumb and Electus than for getting special treatment by a store manager.

I also heard a rumor that at the Apple Store on 5th Avenue in New York, once it was discovered that Ben Silverman was standing in line like a common schmuck, people in front of him laid on the ground.  Police then ordered Ben to step over and on their bodies to get to the front.  Ben did gladly and was able to get the last phone in stock (which was promptly comped to him by the store because of who he was).

And in Queens, New York, Ricky Van Veen waited in line for over 24 hours and still didn't get a phone and wasn't allowed to cut.  He also still hasn't been able to get tickets to Twilight Eclipse.

jill_kennedy_small.jpgJill Kennedy - OnMedea

electus_coming_soon.jpgI see Ben got the message (though the horse and buggy logo doesn't inspire "future of entertainment").

"Coming Soon"
is a step in the right direction, I suppose.  Just be sure and have a "Thanks for the Memories" logo ready once the money is gone.

By the way, I enjoyed the Orbit CommercialJason Bateman and Will Arnett are perfect in those commercials.  They really made gum chewing cool.  

Most gum commercials don't get a launch party.  But most gum commercials aren't made by Ben Silverman's company.  And with the death of independent film, celebrity parties to show gum commercials just may be the new normal.  (The key words here are "gum" and "commercials".)

Perhaps the next step is for Electus or Notional to come up with an Award that it can give the gum commercial so that Ben can call it "Award Winning" at his next corporate presentation.

And, maybe, down the line, those five minute "gumisodes" can be trimmed down to 30 seconds and shown on regular television - then you'll really sell some gum.  But the fellows at DumbDumb may not think that's as cool.

jill_kennedy_small.jpgJill Kennedy - OnMedea

So, after my very long vacation, I decided to check in on my old friend Ben Silverman's new company - Electus.  Now, I've been pretty tough on Electus and Ben Silverman since this venture was announced 11 months ago(!) - so, I went to with new hope and got nothing... just an error message.

So I went to the IAC Corporate site and got a blurb on Electus - which gave me a link to this... more nothing:

electus_com_homepage.jpgben_silverman_small_motorcycle.jpgLook, Ben, I realize isn't going to be the final destination for all the brilliant content you produce (I mean, you did create "The Office" - didn't you?  Ricky Gervais owes you big time!), but how about a basic Corporate site with a little information? 

Even put up a logo - but, then again, Ricky Van Veen is a freakin' genius.

jill_kennedy_small.jpgJill Kennedy - OnMedea

mt_kilimanjaro_jill_kennedy.jpgNow THAT'S what I call a month off. 

As many of you have noticed, I haven't been around for the past month (replies to your emails are coming).  Where have I been?  CLIMBING MT. KILIMANJARO! 

I was told MK is considered one of the easiest of the BIG mountains to climb and would require very little training. 

After assigning myself the difficult task of bringing down big media buffoons such as Ben Silverman, Meredith Whitney and Jeff Zucker, I don't have the time to train to climb mountains.  And, yet, with only a few hours logged on the Stairmaster, somehow - I MADE IT!  More pics and stories to come on that later - but this isn't a travel blog and I'm sure you can find much more interesting Mt. Kilimanjaro tidbits elsewhere.

As I have been "off the grid" for a month - I was very happy to hear about Jeff Zucker's potential exit from NBC Universal after the merger.  I was very unhappy to hear he may receive upwards of $40 million when he leaves.  I was hoping his exit package would only include one big kick in the ass on his way out the door.

I would love to see a Jeff Zucker / Ben Silverman reunion over at the ill-fated before it runs out of Barry Diller's money and shuts its doors for good sometime next year.

Oh, well, a girl can dream, can't she?  It's great to back.

jill_kennedy_small.jpgJill Kennedy - OnMedea

ben_silverman_MIPTV_conference_1.jpgOK, don't go all crazy MIPTV Conference people, Ben Silverman didn't say shit that hasn't been said before by... everyone producing new media content. 

Perhaps he says it in a way that make people think it sounds new or perhaps people just want to party with the guy - but it's crazy how he can speak for 45 minutes and not say a thing.

I still don't know what the hell Electus is based on the way Ben tries to define it (the website offers no help). 

It sounds to me like a production company.  A production company that will have Facebook Fan areas and YouTube channels.  Basically like every production company on the planet. 

ben_silverman_MIPTV_conference_2.jpgIt will be a production company that acquires (or JV's) ideas for reality and game shows that can be exploited in the U.S. and international markets.  Please tell King World, Telepictures, Mark Burnett, Endemol, etc. or other companies that have been doing this FOR DECADES that your idea is revolutionary, Ben.  I'm sure they would laugh you out of the room and tell you to stop stealing their stuff.

Electus' plan is to bring Burbank, Madison Avenue and THE WORLD together before a project goes forward - basically marrying advertisers with content producers up front.  Perhaps you should Google (or "Electus'le" - which will be your way of rebranding Google - in a deal you'll announce by Press Release and then we won't hear about it ever again) the concept for the 'Soap Opera' from the 1930s. 

ben_silverman_MIPTV_conference_3.jpgIf your plan (if I may interpret it from your Press Release to announce the deal to create DumbDumb) is just to stick a bag of Doritos in Will Arnett's hand while he and Jason Bateman talk about their love for Doritos (plus they'll attempt to throw in some silly plot that's added just for fun) while one of them Twitters about his love for Doritos and encourages viewers to "Fan" Doritos on Facebook... then that's fine and dandy. 

Everybody gets paid by Doritos and everybody (probably) makes money.  It's called a commercial. 

Seriously, producing "branded" content with celebrities doesn't mean shit.  It means they're doing commercials and probably feeling pretty bad about themselves once they have to start announcing the winners of the Electus Award for Cheesiest Doritos Fanatic (which no doubt encompasses the person who can get the most people to join the Twitter feed).

There's nothing wrong with that.  Money is money.  That's why you're in business.  Just don't call it revolutionary or visionary or YOUR IDEA!  It's just a production company.  Gary Coleman has a production company.  Everybody is doing what you're doing.

Do it in 1994 as the internet is just coming into people's homes... then it's revolutionary.

jill_kennedy_small.jpgJill Kennedy - OnMedea
ben_silverman_miptv_keynote.jpg[UPDATE:  Apparently, Big Hur Silverman is still on for his MIPTV Keynote Address next week.  So... that's good news - the world is about to change!  A couple of months ago, I wrote a speech that he could use if he didn't get around to actually putting anything on paper.  That post is below.]

It recently came to my attention that Ben Silverman was asked to give a keynote address at this year's MIPTV Conference in Cannes, France on April 13, 2010.  Realizing that Ben is a very busy man (what with single-handedly changing the media landscape... again), I have taken the liberty of drafting his keynote address for him.

Based on everything I know about him through interviews and presentations, etc., I have attempted to write the speech in a style he would find the most comfortable.
Ben Silverman - Founder and CEO of the new multimedia company Electus - a groundbreaking partnership with media mogul Barry Diller's leading interactive company IAC.

(As the lights dim, a low hum emits from somewhere, smoke machines fill the stage with a heavy mist.  A lightning bolt appears to strike the back of the stage followed by a thunderclap - leaving the silhouette of... A MAN.)

Ben-Silverman.jpgBOOMING VOICE OVER:  Since the dawn of time, only one man has had the balls to change the world.  To change the way we think, we feel, we speak.  To change the way we laugh, the way we cry.  The guts to change 10pm programming on broadcast networks.  His name... is Ben.

(A pin spotlight pulls out to reveal BEN SILVERMAN in all his glory - sunglasses, suit that he probably slept in with the tie loosened - unshaven.  He points to the sky as another lightning bolt shoots out of his finger.  "Rock You Like A Hurricane" by The Scorpions screams from the speakers as he floats magically toward the podium on a hydraulic saucer.)

All is silent (except, I imagine, for the thunderous applause from the lucky MIPTV crowd).

Ben Silverman:  Yeah... all right... good morning Cannes.  Hell of a town you got here.  I don't know what kind of poison you serve in your bars, but you fuckers got me drunk! 

(From the wings, Notional founder and CEO Ricky Van Veen is heard cackling.)

Ricky Van Veen:  You got that shit right!  Whooo!

Ben Silverman:  Before I get started, how about a shout out for my little pissant buddy over there, Notional Founder and CEO Ricky Van Veen!

(There is a smattering of applause and bunch of "who the fuck is that" looks throughout the crowd.)

ben_silverman_4.jpgBen Silverman:  All right, all right... Let's get going.  It's really great to be here at the MIPTV conference.  What the hell does 'MIP' mean anyway?  Nobody seems to know. 

Ricky Van Veen:  Damn straight on that one, cat daddy!

Ben Silverman: 
Can it, Ricky.

Ricky Van Veen:  I get it "Cannes"!  That's where we are!  Freakin' hilarious, boss.

Ben Silverman:  Shut the fuck up, Ricky. 

Ricky Van Veen:  Sorry, daddy-o.

Ben Silverman:  (holding up a cocktail) And I said more vodka than tomato juice, bitch.

Ricky Van Veen:  Sorry bout dat. 

(Ricky comes on stage and takes Ben's drink to freshen it up.)

Ben Silverman:  Anyway... Now we're cruising.  You guys (and ladies) are all International Television folk, right?  Excellent.  How's business?  It's great to see the Polish TV delegation out there. 

(There is applause from a delegation of Polish Television Executives.)

Ben-Silverman_electus.jpgBen Silverman:  The last I heard from you guys in Poland, you were dealing with the problems of screen doors on your submarines, right?  And I heard your library was closed because someone stole THE BOOK!  Am I right?  Anway, I see you guys have television now.  Welcome to the 20th century!  Next stop, the internet!

(A screen behind Ben descends from the ceiling revealing his PowerPoint presentation.  The light envelops him in a Christ-like glow.  The first slide is Ben Silverman's professional timeline.)

Ben Silverman:  After I created "The Office" in the UK and decided to bring it to America, I really needed a new challenge.  So I told NBC Universal Chairman Jeff Zucker I wanted to be the head of NBC.  He said I was overqualified for the job and would be better suited to be his boss... but I convinced him that I would prefer to run NBC for a while and see how that goes first. 

(Another slide - Images of Jay Leno, Conan O'Brien and Jeff Zucker.)

ben_silverman_barry_diller.jpgBen Silverman:  When Jeff told me he wanted to move Jay Leno to 10pm and cancel all the dramas in that time slot, I said he was crazy.  "It will never work", I said.  I predicted at the time The Jay Leno Show would last approximately four months before the affiliates would complain about having a crappy lead-in.  But Jeff Zucker was insistent.  So he did it.  He moved Jay to 10pm... and I quit.

(Another slide - giant Electus logo... a smaller IAC logo barely noticeable.)

Ben Silverman:  Having conquered the broadcast network world, I decided the one space where every content producer was having trouble was the online world.  It was a challenge I couldn't refuse.  The person who figures out how to make money with content on the internet will be made King!  Everyone is losing shitloads of money right now.  "It's a space that can't be tamed, Ben."  "Please, Ben, don't try it."  Everyone was being a whiny little bitch to me, begging me not to go into New Media.  When Barry Diller pleaded with me to take $100 million and start Electus, I told him it wouldn't work.  "It's throwing good money down the toilet", I said.  But he insisted. 

(Another slide - Ben Silverman holding a mini-dv camcorder.)

Ben Silverman:  I just wanted to have a little mini-dv camcorder and some really good out of work writers looking for a break and I wanted to create a low-cost, high-quality content site.  It's the only model that works.  But Mr. Diller, being used to high-cost, low-quality content, insisted that I take the money.  So I did.  And, today, I'm happy to say, there is still some money left.

(Slight applause.)

Ben Silverman:  I will now take your questions.

Note to Ben, just copy and paste the text into Word, print it out, and you have your speech.

You're welcome.

jill_kennedy_small.jpgJill Kennedy - OnMedea

About Jill Kennedy

Jill Kennedy - Blogger - OnMedea Jill Kennedy is an Ivy League MBA / refugee from Lehman Brothers.

Manka Bros. (and the Manka Business Channel) hired her (for a very low sum) to cover the world of media (not the world of Medea) in her own words without corporate interference.

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About Medea

Medea Medea was a real bitch from classical mythology - as most famously dramatized by Euripides.

She was a sorceress and wife of Jason, whom she assisted in obtaining the Golden Fleece. When Jason deserted her, she chopped up their children. One could say, Medea acted as rationally as a major media company.


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