With Shuster Sidelined, Colleagues Call

By Gail Shister 

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Gail Shister
TVNewser Columnist

In the latest installment of MSNBC’s “Pimp My Suspension,” no one seems to know the length of David Shuster‘s forced vacation — including David Shuster.

MSNBC placed Shuster on “indefinite suspension” Friday, one day after his on-air use of the P-word in reference to Chelsea Clinton‘s stumping for her mother. Senator Clinton’s campaign pushed for a harsher punishment.

None of the MSNBC principals is talking, but insiders say Shuster expects a one-to-two week sentence. Even his agent couldn’t get a hard number in conversations with MSNBC management, sources say. However nobody, including Clinton, wants Shuster fired, they add.

Shuster’s return date could hinge on MSNBC’s Democratic presidential debate Feb. 26. With Clinton having made noises about pulling out, the network may keep Shuster sidelined until Feb. 27 rather than risk that possibility, no matter how remote.

Shuster doesn’t lack for support. Along with Barbara Walters, who twice spoke up for him on ABC’s “The View,” Shuster’s colleagues are firmly behind him.

He has received calls or e-mails from Tim Russert, Chris Matthews, Keith Olbermann and his office-mate Pat Buchanan, among many others, sources say. Nothing from Imus, as yet.

Shuster, 40, who signed a new three-year contract in December, is said to be taking the situation in stride. Since his suspension, he has spent much of his time reassuring his parents that he’s not headed for a homeless shelter, his friends say.