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Oprah Winfrey names herself CEO of OWN network

Oprah Winfrey becomes the fourth chief executive of the OWN cable network, a partnership with Discovery Communications, since its formation was announced in 2008.

July 14, 2011|By Joe Flint, Los Angeles Times
  • I am ready to dedicate my full creative energy and focus as the full-time CEO of OWN, Oprah Winfrey says in a statement describing her decision to name herself the head of the cable network she launched in partnership with Discovery Communications. Above, Winfrey has her picture taken with fans while attending the second day of the Allen & Co. media conference in Sun Valley, Idaho, last week.
I am ready to dedicate my full creative energy and focus as the full-time… (Anthony Bolante, Reuters )

Oprah Winfrey has decided that if you want to get the job done, you'd better do it yourself.

The former daytime talk show queen has named herself chief executive and chief creative officer of OWN, the cable network she launched in partnership with Discovery Communications. The announcement was made early Wednesday morning.

The move comes just over two months after Christina Norman was forced out as CEO of OWN in a management shake-up. Norman, who exited only four months after the channel made its debut, was OWN's third head since its formation was announced in 2008.

"I am ready to dedicate my full creative energy and focus as the full-time CEO of OWN," Winfrey said in a statement.

Since Norman left, Peter Liguori, the chief operating officer of Discovery Communications and a former top executive at Fox Broadcasting, had been serving as interim CEO.

Also taking top positions at OWN are two of Winfrey's trusted lieutenants. Erik Logan and Sheri Salata, presidents of Harpo Studios, Winfrey's production company, will serve as presidents of OWN.

"The announcement of Oprah, Erik and Sheri completes the plan for developing a strategic creative track and finding the right management team to execute on that plan going forward," Liguori said.

Winfrey's channel, which went live in January, has struggled to build ratings despite hundreds of millions of dollars spent on programming and promotion. Winfrey recently acknowledged that she was not as focused on OWN as she should have been because it was launched while her daytime talk show was wrapping up its final season.

joe.flint@latimes.com

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