Neal Shapiro’s Days Are Numbered

By Brian 

Rewrite: This post replaces the 5:53pm entry.

The message from NBC News is clear this evening: “Neal Shapiro is the president of the news division.” But he is on the way out, sources tell TVNewser. One tipster was succint: “He’s toast.”

Half an hour after asserting that Shapiro had been fired, Matt Drudge updated: “Neal Shapiro soon to be moved out as head of NBCNEWS.” Drudge had said that Nightly News EP Steve Capus would be named president, but he has retracted that sentence. Capus is NOT in line for Shapiro’s job, a spokesperson reiterated tonight.

NBC immediately denied Drudge’s report that Shapiro was fired. “Drudge is wrong on all counts,” an NBC spokesperson said this evening. “Neal is the president of NBC News.” But minutes later, a trusted source said that Shapiro was literally packing up his office. Around 6:30pm, Drudge updated: “Shapiro found out last night and has told people he isn’t coming back.”

> Insiders at other networks have been buzzing about Shapiro’s imminent departure all day.

> This morning Lloyd Grove said Jeff Zucker “has been actively seeking a replacement” for Shapiro.

> TVNewser, April 20: “What you are missing in this is the lessening power of Neal Shapiro at NBC News. His #2 is now no longer in charge of Today (Lisa Hsia) and Jeff [Zucker]’s best friend Phil Griffin is now there. So what’s left for Shapiro? Very little… he’s on the clock.”

> Biography: “Neal Shapiro was appointed president of NBC News in June 2001…”

> Did Shapiro have a good time at his Tufts University 25th reunion party over the weekend?