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Shapiro's Future Unclear at ABC Family

The future of ABC Family president Angela Shapiro is unclear after the network was moved under ABC Cable Networks Group and the watchful eye of group president Anne Sweeney.

Industry sources said Shapiro -- who now reports to Sweeney after having reported to parent company The Walt Disney Co. president Robert Iger -- is said to be considering her options after overseeing the beleaguered ABC Family for 18 months.

The network said in a prepared statement that Shapiro will continue as president "with the complete support of the company."

"What is unclear at this point is whether she's going to stay," an industry source said.

The announcement came amid a scathing report in Tuesday's New York Post
claiming that a major falling out occurred between Shapiro and Iger over the network's performance.

ABC Family's household ratings were down 13% during the third quarter of 2003 compared with 2002 as the network has struggled to develop a breakthrough hit. On that front, the network suffered a major blow this past August when it canceled its highly anticipated reality show featuring Roseanne Barr after the comedian took ill during production.

An ABC Family spokeswoman would not comment on the Post
piece. The network did say in a statement that the move was "simply an internal organizational decision to integrate a single cable entity into a larger cable family."

The statement continued, "ABC Cable Group has been responsible for the channel’s affiliate sales and marketing and the management of the daily kids’ programming block since the acquisition. This integration completely aligns the Disney cable holdings into two distinct entities: ESPN for sports networks and the ABC Cable Networks group for nonsports networks."

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.