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OnMedea: NBC Universal: October 2009 Archives

NBC Universal: October 2009 Archives

Electus - R.I.P.

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electus_headstone.jpgI realize that Electus - the earth-shattering, ground-breaking, cutting-edge new business from Ben Silverman and Barry Diller's IAC/ InterActiveCorp hasn't launched, but I have recently climbed aboard Khan Manka, Jr.'s Time Machine and gone into the not-too-distant future to retrieve the press release announcing (sadly) the company's closure.  Sorry, Ben.

From the Associated Press (July 2011):

Electus, the $100 million start-up from media wunderkind Ben Silverman has decided to close its doors effective immediately after only 18 months in business.  875 staffers (mostly low-level hot chicks in their 20s who ran errands and stuff) were expected to lose their jobs.  The highly-touted venture only managed to produce one original internet series - a show about bed-hopping young flight attendants based at O'Hare International Airport called "The Hub".

Ben-Silverman_electus.jpgElectus, announced by Mr. Silverman with much fanfare in July 2009 (after a completely disastrous run as Co-Chairman of NBC Entertainment), was supposed to change the entertainment landscape with the unoriginal idea of marrying advertising, content and distribution in a new media world.

Mr. Silverman was unavailable for comment but released a statement through his representatives:  "I am proud of my accomplishments at Electus.  Even though $100 million doesn't go as far as it used to, I still changed the world!  No one has even come close to doing what I did because nobody had the balls.  What a ride!  Maybe people just aren't ready for forward-thinking."

Mr. Diller was available for comment and simply said about Silverman:  "Fuck that guy."

But don't worry about Ben.  He has landed on his feet and will continue his Quixotic quest to monetize online content from his penthouse suite at The Palms Hotel in VegasGoldman Sachs
has committed $500 million to fund his new, as yet, unnamed venture.
Oh, yeah, one other thing I learned from the future:  The Jay Leno Show was canceled in 2010 and called one of the greatest failures in the history of television.  Sorry, Ben.

jill_kennedy_small.jpgJill Kennedy - OnMedea
ben_silverman_fortune_40_under_40.jpgSeriously, Fortune?  Are you fucking kidding me?  What, will you sell 15 more magazines with him on the list?  Couldn't come up with that 40th name? 

What about Jeff Weiner - he's under 40 and was named CEO of LinkedIn.  That's a pretty big job and the site actually makes money and is relevant. 

Ben Silverman is irrelevant.  Everyone needs to please stop with the 'Ben Silverman is great' shit. 

If (and this is about the biggest fucking 'if' I've ever written) Barry Diller and Ben Silverman put together a company that changes the media landscape and makes the world a better place, put him on your list next year.  Oh, yeah, he won't be UNDER 40 next year.  Sorry, Ben.

Well, OnMedea is putting together our own list:  ONMEDEA'S TOP 40 FAILURES UNDER 40 and Ben Silverman is in the running for the top of that list. 

Check back here next week for all the exciting details.

jill_kennedy_small.jpgJill Kennedy - OnMedea

Leo Laporte Gets It

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... Ben Silverman doesn't.  I would give Ben the benefit of the doubt, but we all know his new $100 million company with Barry Diller is not going to work (or create anything remotely new or ground shaking). 

As soon as Ben launches his new company (whenever the F that is), the rest of the world will realize that he doesn't get it.  The sooner we get him to retire to the penthouse of The Palms in Vegas so he can bang cocktail waitresses two at a time, the sooner we can move on with our quest for a workable New Media business model.

BUT LEO LAPORTE (founder and chief guru of - or This Week In Technology) GETS IT! 

Please watch this 40 minute speech he recently gave to the Online News Association and you will see what I mean.

As long as we stay away from and stop encouraging these inane ultra Hollywood-types who have no vision, we just may get somewhere.


Jill Kennedy - OnMedea

southland.jpgFrom the executive grave, Ben Silverman has struck again.  Southland, the once promising (for one episode) gritty cop show has been canceled (before its season premiere!).

Another day - another failed show.  NBC is in big troubleMercy, Trauma, Heroes - all cancellations to come.

NBC had better start super-sizing episodes of The Office ASAP. 

Also, maybe think about putting together a few hours of The Biggest Loser Outtakes.  Are there any extra Law & Orders laying around?  Somebody should get Dick Wolf on the phone.  That might work for a week or two.  

Hey, America's (Still) Got Talent - get the cameras rolling!  Or just show re-runs of Susan Boyle from Britain's Got Talent.  How about that sand artist from Ukraine's Got Talent?  Something is bound to work.  Right?

Thank God The Jay Leno Show only needs a 1.5 rating to make $300 million!

This has been an extremely challenging year for NBC so far - and it's only October 8th.

jill_kennedy_small.jpgJill Kennedy - OnMedea
ben_silverman_barry_diller.jpgOK, Ben

It's been nearly three months since you announced you were leaving NBC to start a new company that will "capitalize on the ever-evolving world of multimedia production and distribution."   We're still waiting.

Who knows?  Maybe you actually did stay at NBC to help launch the new season (or whatever) like you claimed you were going to do. 

If you stayed, most likely you left the morning after The Jay Leno Show premiered so that you could tell people that it was a hit while you were there. 

[Note: Latest ratings for The Jay Leno Show (10/5/09): 2.9/5 - but, according to John Ferriter, it only needs a 1.5 to make NBC Universal $300 million!]

I know it must be difficult to be a cutting-edge wunderkind and I'm not trying to rush you - but it's time to announce your new venture. 

I'm sure Barry Diller can't wait to hear about it either.  He's got $100 million riding on your genius. 

Don't worry, Ben - Vegas will still be there after you launch your company.  And... don't forget... hot chicks dig launch parties

jill_kennedy_small.jpgJill Kennedy - OnMedea
jay_leno_has_failed.jpgBased on last night's overnight ratings (September 30, 2009:  4.1/7), the above headline is what nearly every television production executive is screaming down the halls today (with the exception of those at NBC Universal.  They're probably screaming something like... Will Comcast contribute to my 401K?  What happens to our stock options?, etc.).

Now, a 4.1/7 is a grand slam on The CW.  If every show on The CW got a 4.1/7, Dawn Ostroff (President) would be carried around on one of those Cleopatra-type chairs.  However, this is NBC and this is Jay Leno.  We've heard from stories past (lies in my opinion), that Jay only needs to "get a 1.5 rating (A18-49) to make $300 million a year for NBC".  So a 4.1/7 is comfortably in that range - but still pathetic based on pre-season expectations.

However, there is a way that NBC can save face in the middle of this debacle.  They don't even need to cancel The Jay Leno Show (why would you when you're making that kind of bank?  I'm sure Comcast will do a complete audit in due-diligence - so one day we'll know for sure).

Here's what you do, NBC: BUY BILLBOARDS strategically-positioned around every major television production facility (as demonstrated below).  Every week, update the profit number of The Jay Leno Show and then put a tag at the bottom that reads something like:  "Hey TV Execs, how are your fall shows doing?  Throwing Off Any Cash?"

jay_leno_profit_billboard_600.jpgThis would bring home the fact that The Jay Leno Show HAS NOT FAILED.  It might just stop this town from obsessing over ratings and fucking market share.  Ask The Food Network about their profits?  I think they'll tell you they're doing just fine.  And when was the last time they got even a 1.0/3 share?  It means nothing. 

But, NBC, you have lost the PR war and it's time to fight back.  Forget trying to put TV stars from other networks on with JayJay is about movie stars and pop icons.  Fuck Julianna Margulies, Jay.  You don't need her or her TV friends and complaining in the media about it makes you look like a pussy (even more so).

jill_kennedy_small.jpgJill Kennedy - OnMedea

P.S. - I have nothing against Julianna Margulies.  Big fan.  She's just F-ed by example.

the_wrap_nbc_universal_comcast.jpg"COMCAST DENIES A DEAL IS DONE, BUT DOES NOT DENY TALKS."  Are you really fucking kidding me, Sharon?

So this is the way it's going to be?  Semantics.

Everyone in the world with a blog could report anything (anything) and find a way to call it a true story. 

My five-year-old daughter could tell me she knows where Iran is hiding a nuclear bomb and I could report:  "A trusted source tells me that Iran is hiding a nuclear bomb in a closet in La Canada."  I do consider my daughter to be "trusted".  She's the "source".  Iran would come out immediately and call the story "inaccurate" - but I wouldn't be a liar.

I'm stunned that nobody calls bullshit on a story that mentions quite a few details about a deal that is far from complete. 

sharon_waxman.jpgYet nobody calls Sharon Waxman at a liar.  Semantics.  Or... I suppose, because nobody really cares. got everything it needed from this story.  National exposure.  Who cares if it's "inaccurate"?  That's not the point. 

Comcast and GE get everything they want out of the story - a test of the market to see what the rumor, if true, would do to their stock prices.

Even so, it's absolutely ridiculous.

"Comcast is in talks to buy the entertainment giant NBC Universal from General Electric... ACCORDING TO KNOWLEDGEABLE INDIVIDUALS."  WTF does that mean?  I consider myself to be a "knowledgeable individual" - does that mean I could have been a source even if I didn't know about the meeting?

"Deal points were hammered out...EXECUTIVES FAMILIAR WITH THE MEETING SAID."

Who are these "Knowledgeable Individuals" and "Executives Familiar With The Meeting" - and why the fuck are they talking to

Are "Sources" protected in online journalism?   What kind of a crazy-fucking world is it when Nikki Finke is the reserved one in a big entertainment business story like this?  Maybe it's because she didn't break the story and would love to see it discredited.  Actually, not "maybe" - I'm sure she wants to see it discredited.

The biggest surprise of all is that nobody is calling bullshit or lies lies lies.  In today's journalistic environment, that means the story is, most likely, true.  And if I had the chance and "sources" to break this story, I would have done the same thing.

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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