The "WNET/THIRTEEN 50th Anniversary" Interview
with Kam Williams
Big Bird's Boss Shares His Vision for PBS
Neal Shapiro is President and CEO of New York City's WNET, America's flagship public media outlet, bringing quality arts, education and public affairs programming to over 5 million viewers each week. The parent company of public television stations THIRTEEN and WLIW21 and operator of NJTV, WNET produces such acclaimed PBS series as Great Performances, American Masters, Nature, Need to Know, Charlie Rose, and a range of documentaries, children's programs, and local news and cultural offerings available on air and online.
Shapiro is an award-winning producer and media executive with a 25-year career spanning print, broadcast, cable and online. At the helm of WNET, Shapiro has revitalized programming, nearly doubled arts and culture programming, placed a new emphasis on local programming and community engagement, set new fundraising records and inaugurated a new, state-of-the-art studio at Lincoln Center.
In addition to WNET's signature national series, Shapiro has overseen the launch of a number of innovative local programs (including American Graduate, MetroFocus, NYC-Arts, Need To Know and Women, War & Peace) which make the most of New York City's rich resources and vibrant community.
Before joining WNET in 2007, Shapiro was President of NBC News, leading its top-rated news programs, including Today, NBC Nightly News and Meet the Press, as well as Dateline NBC. Shapiro was executive producer of Dateline NBC when it was a mainstay of NBC's schedule. And in his 13 years at ABC News, he was a writer and producer for PrimeTime Live and World News Tonight.
Mr. Shapiro has won numerous awards, including 32 Emmys, 31 Edward R. Murrow Awards and 3 Columbia DuPont awards. He serves on the Boards of Tufts University, Gannett Company, the Investigative News Network and the International Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. Neal lives in New York City with his wife, ABC News Correspondent Juju Chang, and their three sons.
Kam Williams: Hi Neal, thanks for the interview.
Neal Shapiro: My pleasure, Kam.
KW: I feel like I already know you from watching you introduce movies every Saturday night.
NS: [Chuckles] I have to admit that of all the things I do that's actually the most fun.
KW: What is your favorite genre of film?
NS: Film noir. I'm especially a big fan of Humphrey Bogart.
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