Oprah Winfrey to become CEO of her network

Reuters News
Posted: Jul 13, 2011 10:43 AM
Oprah Winfrey to become CEO of her network

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Oprah Winfrey will take over as chief executive officer of OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network this fall, the cable channel said on Wednesday.

Winfrey, regarded as the most influential woman on U.S. television, will be the third CEO of the company since its debut in January. She will also become chief creative officer as the network prepares for her new talk show, "Oprah's Next Chapter," to debut in January 2012.

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

OWN is co-owned by Winfrey and Discovery Communications Inc.

Discovery Chief Operating Officer Peter Ligouri has been interim CEO of OWN since he replaced Christina Norman in May.

Norman was pushed out after Discovery CEO David Zaslav said OWN's ratings had been "below our expectations." Executives have said that more investments in the joint venture will depend on ratings through the next several quarters.

Discovery spent $215 million to fund the venture through the first quarter.

OWN also said two current presidents of Winfrey's Harpo Studios, Erik Logan and Sheri Salata, would move to the same role at the cable channel.

The two will work with Ligouri as the network rolls out new shows. Comedian Rosie O'Donnell's daily talk show will start in October, OWN said.

(Reporting by Roy Strom; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)