News

Shapiro Ready to Leave ABC Family

11/02/2003 7:00 PM Eastern

Although there was still no official announcement as of late last week, ABC Family president Angela Shapiro is exiting the beleaguered channel, sources familiar with the situation confirmed.

Shapiro, who reportedly didn't show up at her office last week, is working out the terms of her departure from the cable network, which The Walt Disney Co. purchased in 2001 for $5.2 billion from News Corp. and Saban Entertainment.

ABC Family does have a general manager, Mark Silverman, who could run the network on a day-to-day basis once Shapiro's departure is made official.

Last week Shapiro, who is in a dispute over who she reports to and the direction of her beleaguered cable network, couldn't be reached for comment. Officials at ABC Family and Disney declined to comment.

Shapiro, a rising star at ABC daytime before joining ABC Family 16 months ago, is unhappy that her cable network was recently moved under the wing of the ABC Cable Networks Group and the oversight of its president, Anne Sweeney. Shapiro and Sweeney do not get along, according to sources at both ABC Family and ABC Cable.

So when her reporting structure was altered, Shapiro quickly argued that the change violated her contract — which had her reporting to officials at the corporate level at ABC — and said she wanted to leave.

When Shapiro joined ABC Family, she reported to Steve Bornstein, president of ABC Inc. But when he left in April last year, Shapiro started reportedly directly to Disney president Bob Iger.

In several published reports last week, Iger said that it no longer made sense for one cable network official to report to him. When Shapiro first joined ABC Family and was reporting to ABC, the Disney game plan was for the cable network to be an outlet for repurposed ABC Television Network programming. But that strategy didn't really work.

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