Eileen O’Neill to Head Discovery Studios

Marjorie Kaplan named interim Discovery Channel chief
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Discovery Communications has again shuffled its uppermost executive ranks. The company announced Tuesday that Eileen O’Neill has been tapped to lead Discovery’s studio and production divisions under the new title global group president, Discovery Studios.

O’Neill will vacate her role as head of the company’s flagship network, Discovery Channel. That position will be filled on an interim basis by Marjorie Kaplan, group president, TLC and Animal Planet.

O’Neill and Kaplan were at the center of the company’s most recent executive reorganization in February, when Kaplan, then head of Animal Planet, took over TLC, the company’s second-highest rated network, from O’Neill. Lower-tier networks Science Channel and Velocity were added to O’Neill’s portfolio, which already included Discovery Channel.

Discovery did not reveal how the most recent shift will affect Science and Velocity.

In her new role, O’Neill will oversee Discovery Studios’ production facilities and two in-house production arms, betty and Raw. She will also serve on the board of directors for All3Media, which Discovery agreed in May to acquire in a 50-50 split with Liberty Global. That transaction has not yet been finalized.

“Eileen is one of the very best we have at Discovery,” said Discovery president and CEO David Zaslav—who in January signed a long-term contract that will keep him with the company through 2019. “In this new role, she will accelerate the growth, output and development of our production engines, and oversee the strategy and investment in new programming, new content creators, new categories and new technologies.”

A search for a new Discovery Channel chief will be led by Ann Carlsen of executive search firm Carlsen Resources.

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