Three months after signing a three-year extension with the network, NBC's entertainment chief Kevin Reilly is out of a job, being replaced by Ben Silverman, producer of "The Office." The news was first reported by Hollywood blabbermouth Nikki Finke (please save the e-mails, Nikki, we mean it in a good way) on Friday, and then regurgitated without credit by the New York Times and the LAT yesterday. (Classy!) The Wall Street Journal notes that Reilly, responsible the for "Heroes," last season's only hit, got like a totally raw deal.

The network was No. 1 in the spring of 2005, when Mr. Reilly took over, with its performance diving the following fall. But in many ways, Mr. Reilly inherited a sinking ship. Programs such as "Law & Order" were fading, and the network had failed to come up with a new comedy engine to replace "Friends." Mr. Reilly, well-respected in Hollywood's creative community, was charged with finding a new wave of hits.

So essentially, the guy did the best he could to clean up the shitpile bequeathed to him by Jeff Zucker and ended up getting canned after finding more successful new programs than Zucker ever did. Explain to us again why Jeff keeps falling upward? And what of Reilly's successor? Finke:

Certainly, Silverman has great taste. But as one source tells me, 36-year-old Ben "can barely manage his way out of a paper bag" because of his extreme lifestyle, relentless ass kissing, and constant jetting around in his private plane.

Hmm, seems familiar. Watch your ass, Zucker: Dude sounds like a young version of you, but with hair.

NBC SHAKE-UP UPDATE: Kevin Reilly Officially Out. Ben Silverman Offered Bigger Job. Marc Graboff Upped. [DHD]
NBC Programming Chief Kevin Reilly to Leave as Ratings Slide [WSJ]