Tribune filed for bankruptcy in late 2008, laden with billions of dollars in debt from a failed buyout led by real estate mogul Sam Zell.
Shell, a native of Los Angeles, has told colleagues he is happy in Philadelphia. "I am happy at Comcast and hope and expect to stay after the NBCU transaction," he said in a statement Thursday. In December, Comcast announced a deal to acquire a controlling stake in NBC Universal Inc., the entertainment and news giant.
Details on the corporate structure of Comcast-NBCU could be disclosed in the fall. The Department of Justice and the Federal Communications Commission are evaluating the merger for anticompetitive concerns and public benefits. Steve Burke, the No. 2 Comcast executive, will oversee the merged company.
Shell joined Comcast five years ago and has been highly regarded for, among other things, improving the quality of Comcast's 24-hour sports channel, Versus; boosting the profitability and ratings of the flagship E! Entertainment channel; and tripling the size of Comcast's regional sports network businesses.
Comcast's other channels include Style, G4, and the Golf Channel. The cable giant's programming segment produced revenue of about $1.5 billion and operating income of $389 million in 2009.
Besides TV and newspapers, Tribune Co. has financial interests in cable channels and digital businesses. Those who know Shell say he is a fan of newspapers as brands and an executive who can improve the operations of media businesses.
Contact staff writer Bob Fernandez
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