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Mark Shapiro, the former CEO of Dick Clark Productions and a former ESPN executive, is reportedly the top candidate to take the top job at CNN.
Sources for the The Los Angeles Times said that Shapiro is the top pick for the job, although he is an unusual choice because of his lack of experience at a traditional news organization. He does have production experience from his time at ESPN, though.
According to TV Newser, Shapiro's time at ESPN included launching Pardon the Interruption and he was the person who picked Rush Limbaugh for NFL Countdown. He joined Dick Clark in 2010, but he left when the company was sold earlier this year.
Another candidate for the CNN job is former NBCUniversal Chief Executive Jeff Zucker, who is friends with Shapiro.
CNN will have to make a decision soon, since Jim Walton is stepping down at the end of the year. He announced his resignation back in July. Walton himself admitted that CNN, which is competing with Fox News and MSNBC, “needs new thinking.”
Shapiro currently has a consulting job at Dick Clark and is also on the boards of the Tribune Co., Live Nation and Papa John’s.
CNN has not commented on the report.