Discovery Replaces TLC President

By Frank Ahrens

It's been non-stop action at Discovery Communications since David Zaslav took over as chief executive in January 2007 and began executing a number of high-profile moves, such as shutting down the Discovery Channel stores. Today, he took action on one of his moves that hasn't worked out so well.

TLC president Angela Shapiro-Mathes has been replaced by longtime Discovery executive Eileen O'Neill, fresh off her launch of the company's new channel, Planet Green.

Zaslav hired Shapiro-Mathes from Fox Television Networks, where she was the president, to head the Los Angeles-based TLC in April 2007, and allowed her to continue running the channel from L.A. instead of bringing it into Discovery's Silver Spring headquarters. Shapiro-Mathes, who has lengthy Hollywood experience, hired a new L.A. staff for the channel, home of shows such as "Little People, Big World" and "What Not to Wear."

At the time, Zaslav said: "Angela has a record of achievement that few can match. Discovery's ability to attract top talent demonstrates the incredible strength of our brands."

But the long-distance experiment hasn't worked out, said a source close to the situation who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the replacement is a personnel matter. TLC has not made its ratings goals over the past year, the source said.

While at Discovery Health, O'Neill produced "Jon & Kate Plus 8," a reality show about a couple with eight children, which is TLC's highest-rating program.

O'Neill will evaluate the TLC operations to determine which, if any, parts of the network should remain in L.A. and which should come to Silver Spring.

"My thanks to Angela for her hard work, leadership and passion over the past year," Zaslav said in a release. "She has diversified TLC's programming mix and increased the network's development presence in Los Angeles."

TLC said Shapiro-Mathes declined to comment.

By Dan Beyers  |  July 25, 2008; 3:00 PM ET  | Category:  Discovery Communications
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