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Yahoo adds Silverman's Electus to content strategy

NBC's former head of programming, Ben Silverman, will produce several new Internet shows for Yahoo through a deal with his new company, Electus.

Yahoo has found a producer for its original content push: the guy who brought you "The Office" and "Knight Rider."

Electus CEO Ben Silverman Yahoo

Electus, the production company founded by former head of NBC programming Ben Silverman, has signed a deal with Yahoo's media group to produce "exclusive premium content for Yahoo and its advertising partners," according to a press release. Silverman oversaw NBC's programming from 2007 to 2009, and prior to that founded Reveille Productions, which created the U.S. version of "The Office" and "Ugly Betty." His tenure also coincided with a slip in the ratings for NBC, however, hastened by flops such as the "Knight Rider" remake and "Kath and Kim."

Expect to see a wide variety of programs emerge from the partnership, said Joanne Bradford, Yahoo's senior vice president for North America revenue and market development. That includes scripted content and possible "Webisode" ideas, in addition to the recap shows it currently produces, such as "Prime Time in No Time."

Yahoo has been looking for a way to expand the amount of original video content it produces, as it once again tries to build out its media division under CEO Carol Bartz. Last year, Yahoo made it known that it wanted to do more than recap shows without revisiting its past failures in creating content for the Internet, although it also appeared to eschew the types of shows that Silverman became famous for producing.

At the same time, Yahoo wants to make sure it's putting together advertiser-friendly programming, Bradford said. She declined to comment on whether or not Yahoo has signed deals with any specific advertisers. but agreed that it wouldn't be a good idea to launch such a venture without advertiser backing.