Shapiro Named President of EBC

Jan 18, 2007  •  Post A Comment

Former NBC News President Neal Shapiro will return to the television scene as president of the entity that runs public TV stations WNET-TV and WLIW-TV. His appointment becomes effective in February.

The announcement was made Thursday by public broadcasting mainstay Bill Baker, the president and CEO of the Educational Broadcasting Corp. who will remain the chief executive officer until February 2008, when he is to pass that title on to Mr. Shapiro as well. Mr. Baker is to become president emeritus of EBC.

“After two decades at the helm of this outstanding institution, I will be delighted to be able to hand the wheel over to Neal Shapiro, a television professional who believes in the power and reach of this medium as much as I do,” Mr. Baker said in the announcement. “I know that Neal will bring new ideas and inspiration to EBC, and I look forward to working with him as he comes to discover just what an amazing and vital organization this is.”

Mr. Shapiro told TelevisionWeek that he’s looking forward to both making WNET programming more timely and topical and having the time that he often didn’t have in commercial broadcast news to think about the best way to approach complex subjects.

Mr. Shapiro left NBC News in September 2005 after 12 years at the network. He came aboard at NBC as the executive producer charged with saving “Dateline NBC” from the damage done by a story about GM truck safety that featured a rigged fire. On his watch, “Dateline” would win every major journalism award more than once and become a near-nightly fixture on NBC’s then top-rated prime-time lineup.

After being named NBC News president in 2001, Mr. Shapiro led the division through 9/11 and subsequent war coverage, Internet expansion and a smooth transition from Tom Brokaw to Brian Williams as anchor of most-watched “NBC Nightly News.”

Before working at NBC, Mr. Shapiro spent 13 years at ABC.

“He has the experience, perspective and understanding to take up Bill Baker’s legacy and guide this unique institution into a new era of innovation, public service, and media that truly contributes to our society,” James S. Tisch, chairman of EBC’s board of trustees, said of Mr. Shapiro.

(Editor: Baumann)