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Ex-NBCer, Yahoo Ink Programming Deal

– Ben Silverman will set up his next set of shows at Yahoo.

The former NBC exec has inked a deal to produce original
programming for Yahoo’s Web sites with the projects also developed to provide advertisers
with opportunities to integrate their products and brand messages within them.

The deal is the first for Silverman since he set up his online entertainment
studio Electus, backed by Barry Diller’s IAC, in October. He announced the deal
at International CES, here.

Silverman has long been a fan of branded entertainment. He
actively paired up advertisers with NBC’s shows, including Ford with
“Knight Rider,” while series like “The Biggest Loser, “The
Office” and “Ugly Betty,” produced by his former shingle,
Reveille, often integrate brands.

Content creators and producers are looking for more direct relationships
with their audiences and advertising partners, and this partnership will allow
advertisers to have fresh ideas matched with premium experiences that enable
their messages to be delivered directly to their consumers,” Silverman

Yahoo has been eager to identify more ways to make its dot-coms
appeal to advertisers and their marketing dollars and has produced a number of branded
entertainment projects with Pepsi and other brands in the past.

In October, it inked a deal with GroupM Entertainment to develop several
branded entertainment series. The company was behind the Web series “In
the Motherhood” that ran on MSN
and was backed by Suave

and Sprint. It was later picked up and adapted into a TV series by ABC.

Yahoo! is bringing together the worlds of entertainment and advertising
to build differentiated experiences that help redefine

branded entertainment,” said Joanne Bradford, senior VP of North America
revenue and market development at Yahoo!

Specific projects have yet to be revealed.

Marc Graser is a reporter
with Variety, published by Reed Business Information, which is a media partner
of the TWICE CES Daily.

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