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Times TV Reporter's Cozy Coverage

Oct. 27 2008, Published 7:07 a.m. ET

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BFFs? Carter, Silverman (inset)

When legendary New York Times TV-business sleuth Bill Carter isn't busy following up on others' scoops, he spends a lot of time assiduously cultivating relationships with Hollywood machers. It helps with reporting, of course. But keep in mind that Carter has moonlighted in the past as a screenwriter for films that aired on HBO and TNT, both of which he regularly covers as a reporter. Now some critics wonder whether his close ties to networks make him the wrong guy to cover the cesspool that is show business.

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Take, for instance, his relationship with newly anointed NBC Universal co-chairman Ben Silverman, whom Carter profiled on Monday in the Times. Earlier this year, Silverman was deposed as part of a fraud and breach-of-contract complaint in Los Angeles Superior Court against NBC and his production company, Reveille. In the course of the deposition, the details of which haven't been previously reported, Silverman was asked to identify Carter. He replied: "Bill Carter is a writer and a dear friend of mine from the New York Times."

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