Banfield talks about her uneasy split several years ago with NBC News, after making a name for herself on MSNBC during and after the Sept. 11 attacks.
“I begged for seventeen months to be let out of my contract. If they had no use for me, let’s just part ways amicably – no need for payouts, just a clean break. And Neal [Shapiro, NBC News president at the time] wouldn’t allow it. I don’t know what his rationale was – perhaps he thought I would take what I felt was a very strong brand, and others felt was a very strong brand, to another network and make a success of it. Maybe that’s why he chose to keep me in a warehouse. I will never forgive him for his cruelty and the manner in which he decided to dispose of me.”
Shapiro, who left NBC in 2005, responds: “I don’t recall events the same way Ashleigh does, but I am glad she has found personal and professional success and I wish her all the best.”
Banfield moved to CourtTV (now truTV) in 2005 and is the only non-lawyer anchoring on the network. Her on-air partner, former ABC and NBC anchor Jack Ford calls her “an absolute delight to work with” and says not being a lawyer works to her advantage. “She brings to the show the kind of curiosity a juror would bring,” he says.
“I know this is my lot,” Banfield says. “If I want to be successful in this business, I’m going to have to take it on the chin and cope with it. This business is not for the thin-skinned, and I don’t know that I have the thickest of skins.”