Shapiro-Mathes leaves TLC

Discovery brings in Planet Green's O'Neill to run cable channel

Angela Shapiro-Mathes is exiting the top job at Discovery Communications-owned cable network TLC after just 15 months in the post.

Sources indicated that the parent company was unhappy with the creative direction of the network.

Discovery announced her departure Friday and replaced her with Eileen O'Neill, a Discovery veteran who most recently ran one of the company's newest networks, Planet Green.

In her brief tenure as president and GM of TLC, Shapiro-Mathes shifted the network's programming operations from Discovery headquarters in Maryland to Los Angeles; landed the "Miss America" franchise; and brought in such talent as Kelly Ripa and Jennifer Lopez. However, the network has not produced a breakout series during her reign.

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

However, sources indicated that Discovery likely will shift some resources back to its headquarters in Silver Spring in order to regain efficiencies that come with having multiple channels under one roof. TLC will retain a reduced footprint in Los Angeles, but O'Neill will remain in Maryland.

O'Neill is a logical choice for TLC, having served as interim GM before Shapiro-Mathes came on board. She also developed what is TLC's top-rated series, "Jon and Kate Plus 8," at Discovery Health, the channel on which the series originally was scheduled.

With O'Neill moving away from Planet Green, the environmentally conscious channel now will be run by Clark Bunting, president of emerging networks at Discovery.

Shapiro-Mathes joined TLC in April 2007, replacing David Abraham after a broad management shake-up at Discovery topped by the installment of Zaslav. (partialdiff)