WMA agent turning U.K. TV shows into U.S. hits

London-based Ben Silverman of the William Morris Agency is being credited with opening American doors for British producers of such hit game and reality shows as Survivor, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, The Weakest Link and the upcoming Dog Eat Dog. In a lengthy profile, Tuesday’s Wall Street Journal describes Silverman’s “in-your-face technique” in dealing with producers as sometimes offending even his admirers. “There’s a very thin line,” one British TV executive told the newspaper, “between being a very good agent and being irritating.” But Silverman himself told the newspaper, “I really wasn’t a bull in a china shop. … I just told people in Britain what I really believed, that they had some of the best programs in the world.” According to the WSJ, U.K. producers have received in excess of $100 million in recent years for rights to shows exported by the William Morris agency.