Barry Diller and Ben Silverman looking into fitness

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Media moguls Barry Diller and Ben Silverman want to get Fit.

The two have proposed acquiring a piece of FitTV. They would like to enter into a joint venture with Discovery Communications, which owns the channel, according to one industry source who is knowledgeable about the situation.

None of the companies involved wanted to discuss the talks, which are said to be extremely preliminary.


FitTV is one of Discovery’s smallest channels; it was launched in late 2003 and is available in 50 million homes. But the half-pint network has ambitions to tone up, and it bills itself as an interactive channel that ‘inspires consumers to improve their fitness and well-being -- on their own terms.’ Sounds like a good fit for Diller and Silverman, who are looking to bulk up their media holdings. And some would say they like things to be ‘on their own terms.’ Discovery, meanwhile, has shown a willingness to enter into joint ventures. It is famously partnering with Oprah Winfrey to launch OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network early next year on what is currently Discovery Health. It also entered into a joint venture with Hasbro Inc. and the two companies plan to rebrand Discovery Kids as ‘The Hub’ later this year.

Since he left NBC Universal last summer, Silverman has been gearing up his new company, Electus, which is part of Diller’s IAC. And Silverman knows a thing or two about positioning fitness. One of the most successful shows produced by his former company, Reveille, is ‘The Biggest Loser,’ which continues to be a heavyweight in the ratings for NBC.

And once, while Silverman was having lunch at the Burbank eatery Mo’s, he sent a hapless waiter back to the kitchen when he attempted to serve Silverman and his party gourmet burgers with buns. Silverman said with disdain: ‘Do we look like people who eat buns?’

-- Meg James

Upper photo: Barry Diller. Credit: Douglas Pizac / Associated Press

Lower photo: Ben Silverman. Credit: Dan Steinberg/ Associated Press