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Seacrest is fast on his tweet, scoops media on Silverman

The 'American Idol' host posts news about his friend's departure from NBC minutes before the network sends a release to reporters.

July 28, 2009|Matea Gold

NBC Universal's announcement Monday that Ben Silverman is leaving the network after his two-year tenure did little to reverse its prime-time fortunes was one of the least surprising stories to hit the television industry in some time.

What was unexpected was who broke the news -- and how.

At 5:09 a.m. Pacific time, nearly an hour before the official news releases went out, "American Idol" host and celebrity interviewer Ryan Seacrest hinted on Twitter that something big was about to go down: "Some biz ent news going to break this morning that will impact shows and stars. It will have impact one major network immediately."

Twelve minutes before NBC e-mailed reporters the news about the departure of Silverman, who is launching a new production company with IAC/InterActive Corp. Chief Executive Barry Diller, Seacrest reported on Twitter: "guy that runs nbc- put office biggest looser [sic] etc on is leaving to launch a new studio. Bringing together most creative stars and producers.

"This means better shows from our favorite stars in u.s. and around the world. Ben Silverman just filling me in. This is big news in hwood."

It was another example of how Twitter is fast becoming the go-to news site of the new media age. Seacrest not only beat NBC and IAC in announcing the news, but he scooped reporters at the Los Angeles Times, New York Times, TMZ, Deadline Hollywood Daily and other outlets who have been chasing rumors of Silverman's impending departure for months. As the news ricocheted across the Web, sites such as New York magazine's Vulture blog, Gawker and the Awl credited the radio host with breaking the story.

He had a leg up in getting the exclusive: Silverman has referred to him as one of his best friends. The two frequently are spotted socializing together, and last year Silverman greenlighted Seacrest's short-lived reality show "Momma's Boys."

Silverman and Seacrest did not respond to requests for comment.

TMZ reported the men are already talking about collaborating as part of Silverman's new venture, which aims to bring together advertisers and writers to develop programming for multiple platforms.


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