Silverman Finds Gold in Local News Workplace Drama

Former NBC entertainment chief produces station-centric series that's part comedy, part drama, part reality
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We’ve got a story out Jan. 19 on the new show Breaking Greenville on truTV. It’s either a reality show or a docu-series or a docu-soap, depending on who you ask, and the series depicts the news battle down in DMA No. 190: Greenwood-Greenville, Mississippi.

WABG is the longtime leader, but WXVT apparently has its act together, and that’s making the folks at WABG uncomfortable. Tune in at 10:30 p.m. Jan. 29 to see how it shakes out.

TruTV says it will take viewers “behind the scenes of the fun, funny and challenging world of local news” in Breaking Greenville. It’s produced by Electus, the production shop founded by Ben Silverman, former NBC entertainment co-chairman.

I asked Silverman, who adapted The Office for U.S. audiences, why he chose the local TV news world for his latest show. He was off in Paris, presumably finding the next TV concept that just might work in the States, and emailed me back about his love of workplace comedies.

“I loved Murphy Brown and The Office, obviously, and felt there was so much comedy with these great anchors and local news workers who were a huge deal in their town but nothing compared to a Tom Cruise-like movie and TV star,” he said. “So many of them want to move up to bigger markets and there is inherent comedy in that aspiration and competitiveness to become a major anchor.

“The local part is funny too, because we all just take ourselves and our communities so seriously that from the outside it can look silly,” Silverman adds. “Local fame is also fun!”

Silverman, who I profiled for B&C way back in 2007--we were both fairly young men then--has a connection to truTV dating back several years: His mother was senior VP of programming at Court TV, which was the channel’s name before it rebranded six years ago, from 2002 to 2005.

Look for the story Monday.

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