Huffpost Media

David Shuster Filmed CNN Pilot, MSNBC Threatens Punishment

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CNN has shot a pilot for a new news show featuring MSNBC anchor David Shuster, the New York Observer's Felix Gillette reports.

According to Gillette's report, Shuster and NPR host Michel Martin co-anchor the news show pilot, which "also featured medical and opinion segments, and included appearances by several current CNN contributors, including [Reuters Global Editor at Large] Chrystia Freeland...and Jeffrey Toobin of The New Yorker."

Shuster declined to comment to the Huffington Post Friday morning.

It is no secret that CNN has struggled in the ratings: for the quarter just ended, the network's primetime shows all saw massive declines, headlined by Larry King's 43% drop from a year ago.

As Gillette notes, "it's a toss up" whether the Shuster-Martin pilot ever comes into fruition. But it is a sign that Shuster, an MSNBC journeyman who recently ceded an hour in the afternoon to make room for Dylan Ratigan's move to 4PM (despite gaining some ratings traction in the hour), may be beginning to look for opportunities outside the network he has called home since 2002. He began his career at CNN in the 1990s before moving to local news and then Fox News, where he worked from 1996-2002.

UPDATE: MSNBC spokesman Jeremy Gaines tells the New York Times that Shuster will face punishment over the CNN pilot.

"If true, this is unacceptable and David will be punished appropriately," Gaines told the Times' Brian Stelter.

Shuster was recently punished by the network over a tweet he sent to conservative activist James O'Keefe, shortly after O'Keefe was arrested for tampering with the phones in Senator Mary Landrieu's office. In response, the network has prevented him from using Twitter since the incident.

Shuster's MSNBC contract expires this year, the Times added.