Move signals Winfrey will dedicate herself to putting network in order
Oprah Winfrey has named herself the new "permanent" CEO and chief creative officer of OWN, the network that bears her name.
The Queen of Talk had pledged to dedicate herself more fully to OWN with the end of her syndicated talk show in May, and with Wednesday's move she did it with a vengeance — signaling that she'll try to personally put the network in order. OWN has struggled for ratings while burning through money.
The move comes just two months after the network announced that OWN CEO Christina Norman would leave and be replaced by an interim CEO, Discovery Communications COO Peter Liguori. Winfrey will take over her new roles in the fall.
OWN also announced that Erik Logan and Sheri Salata, presidents of Harpo Studios, would become presidents of OWN, effective immediately. They will work with Liguori to "ensure a smooth transition and maximum creative output over the coming months," OWN said.
The company also announced that all future television production at Harpo Studios would be directed exclusively to OWN.
"I am ready to dedicate my full creative energy and focus as the full time CEO of OWN," Winfrey said, pledging to "unleash the full potential of the network."
OWN debuted Jan.1 with a Winfrey-curated slate heavy on her friends and interests — but often light on Winfrey herself. The network announced shifts to its primetime lineup in March.
Last August, OWN co-owner Discovery Communications boosted its funding by $89 million, in addition to its initial $100 million commitment. In February it committed another $50 million, mostly to go towards programming. The company said at the time it was still on target financially for the year.
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