His assignment of reviving NBC’s long-troubled fortunes in prime time has proved heavier lifting than Mr. Silverman anticipated, thanks to a combination of external factors — like a writers’ strike and a battered economy — and internal factors, including some gossip-stoking incidents in his personal life and a few comments about others that he now acknowledges were ill-advised.
And as always, there is the issue of ratings.
Some detractors, rooting for his exit, have suggested that he and NBC can’t wait to part company. But Mr. Silverman, who is 38, says he is staying put. “I am a happy worker at NBC,” hesaid in a recent interview in Manhattan. “I plan to stay at NBC as part of the NBC family. I’m there. I’m committed.”
Jeff Zucker, Mr. Silverman’s boss and the chief executive of NBC Universal, says he continues to value Mr. Silverman’s work. “Ben has a skill set that is incredibly appropriate for these times,” he said. “If we weren’t supportive of Ben, he wouldn’t be here.”
Still, the fact that there has been no formal deal announced to renew Mr. Silverman’s contract will probably set off speculation among Mr. Silverman’s critics that Mr. Zucker does not want to make a public endorsement of him.