Barack Obama's bizarre alliance with NBC continued last week when the White House invited network chief/seasoned clubrat Ben Silverman over for a highly publicized meeting just in time for the launch of Silverman's shitty new show, The Philanthropist.
The meeting—with White House advisers but not, mercifully, Obama himself—was ostensibly about "soliciting ideas for selling [Obama's] public service message." But because Silverman is unctuous and gross, it was really about getting press, and the appearance of a White House impramatur, for The Philanthropist, which Silverman bought without seeing a pilot and which the Miami Herald's Glenn Garvin says "may be worst show ever."
Silverman went to the White House with The Philanthropist's producer Tom Fontana and its star James Purefoy. Because he exactly the kind of guy who would call you from the White House to say "Dude, guess where I am right now!", he called Cindy Adams to say, "Dude, guess where I am right now!":
From his cellphone in the White House East Reception Room, Silverman told me:
"We're responding to Obama's request to bring the entertainment industry into White House initiatives."
Which, basically, means what?
"Nixon established an Office of Public Liaison. Such public engagement now will help the president's outreach to Hollywood to spread his message of science, education, math, technology, engineering and public service. We're committed to getting young people engaged, and our new summer drama will encompass these story lines."
Yes, that's right, The Philanthropist is "encompassing" the White House's "story lines."
Ben Silverman is an awful person who makes shitty TV and is about to get fired by Jeff Zucker, an even worse person who also makes shitty TV. Barack Obama's White House was supposed to be all about Camelot Revisited, with poets and philosophers roaming the halls and dancing with one another to jazz and wearing tuxedos. The man who staked his network on trying to hire Rod Blagojevich to hang out with Heidi Montag and Spencer Pratt is an obscene intrusion into that noble vision. Now he's probably running around talking about "my friend Barry Obama" and pitching the White House on Michelle Obama doing a "Now You Know" PSA—maybe about organic food? We could partner with Whole Foods!
Mr. President, this man is beneath you. Let him, and all his awful television shows, go away quietly.