NBC NEWS CHIEF NEAL SHAPIRO TO LEAVE NETWORK

Steve Capus Named Acting President

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- The president of NBC's news division is leaving the network, according to a memo sent to staff yesterday.
Photo: AP
Neal Shapiro is stepping down after four years as president of NBC's news division.

Tensions reported
The decision to step down by Neal Shapiro, who was president of news division for four years and had been with NBC for 12 and a half years, had been widely anticipated since the spring, when reports surfaced about tensions between Mr. Shapiro and NBC Universal TV Group President Jeff Zucker.

Mr. Shapiro’s last day on the job will be Sept. 9. He was previously executive producer of NBC's news magazine Dateline.

A spokeswoman for NBC News said neither Mr. Shapiro nor Mr. Zucker would comment on the situation. Mr. Shapiro will be replaced in the interim by Mr. Shapiro’s No. 2, Steve Capus, senior vice president of NBC News, who will become acting president, as NBC Universal conducts a search.

Possible successors
Among the other candidates to replace Mr. Shapiro, according to insiders at NBC, are Paula Madison, the general manage of the Southern California NBC affiliate KNBC; and Court TV President-CEO Henry Schleiff, who is close to Mr. Zucker and is often floated as a candidate to succeed a major news head.

Mr. Shapiro said in the memo that he did not want his departure to be misinterpreted. “It is important to me that my departure not be used in anyway to diminish the accomplishments of this news division, whose record is the envy of the industry.”

'Today' show
Reports earlier this year suggested that changes at the Today show had caused something of a rift between Mr. Shapiro and Mr. Zucker. NBC's morning news show is the biggest revenue generator on the air for the network, and while it is still No. 1 with viewers, rival ABC show Good Morning America has been gaining ground.

In a statement to staff, Mr. Zucker praised Mr. Shapiro’s tenure and added: “As Neal noted, he approached me several months ago about his desire to move on to the next phase of his life. ... [A]s for the future leadership of NBC News, I am currently undertaking a wide-ranging search for Neal’s successor.”

Mr. Shapiro is the second senior news executive to step down this year. CNBC chief Pamela Thomas Graham gave up her position as president-CEO. She was replaced by Mark Hoffman, who ran the local Connecticut NBC affiliate, WVIT. Ms. Thomas Graham remains chairman of the cable news channel.

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