TLC Punches LA Ticket

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For TLC, life under Angela Shapiro-Mathes won’t be bicoastal after all.

Just a little more than two months after assuming the helm as president and general manager, Shapiro-Mathes has concluded that the network would be more effective operating out of Los Angeles, rather than being run, as was originally planned, between parent Discovery Communications’ headquarters in Silver Spring, Md. and its West Coast offices in Century City.

The move is slated to take place by the beginning of next year, when about one-third of the network’s staff relocates to California. The game plan, according to sources at the content company, also calls for another third of TLC’s personnel to remain in Silver Spring to work on other Discovery properties, while the balance will be dismissed.

TLC’s transition is the final network reorganization gambit under new Discovery Communications CEO David Zaslav that he began implementing earlier this year. The process was delayed as former TLC president and general manager, who left of his own volition and returned to London as CEO of UKTV, exited after the company’s upfront April 5 presentation to advertisers in New York.

The hiring announcement of Shapiro-Mathes, the former leader of ABC Family and Fox Television Studios, came about two weeks later. However, she did not officially take command and begin assessing TLC’s position in Zaslav’s Discovery domain until July 1

Shapiro-Mathes was in Silver Spring today, as some employees had their initial meetings with upper management about their professional situations today. Others had been contacted early to gauge their interest in migrating across the nation.

In a memo to staffers on Monday, Shapiro-Mathes said the network would be better off being based in Los Angeles.

“Over the past two months, I have conducted an extensive review of the operations and structure of the TLC network group, which has involved many conversations with senior executives and members across every business unit,” she wrote. “My objective was to ensure we have the strongest organization possible that meets David Zaslav's direction of tapping more aggressively into the creative community in Los Angeles and energizing the TLC brand.                                              

“When I joined the company, the initial thought was that TLC could be managed as a bicoastal operation between Silver Spring and Los Angeles,” she continued. “However, it is clear after much discussion, that to achieve the greatest level of success both from a creative and financial standpoint, TLC should be operated as a consolidated business unit      based solely in Los Angeles.”                                           

To that end, putting permanent roots in LA makes sense: the vast majority of outside production company TLC already does business with it are located there, according to sources.

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