Oprah Winfrey will become CEO of the sputtering Oprah
Winfrey Network in the fall.
"I am ready to dedicate my full creative energy and focus as
the full-time CEO of OWN," Winfrey said in a statement. Winfrey's successful
syndicated talk show ended its run in May.
OWN is a joint venture with Discovery Communications and
Discovery COO Peter Liguori has been interim CEO of OWN since Christina Norman
was dismissed in May. Launched on Jan. 1, the ballyhooed network has struggled
to draw as many viewers as the channel it replaced, Discovery Health.
OWN also said that the presidents of Winfrey's Harpo
Studios, Erik Logan and Sheri Salata will become presidents of OWN, effective
immediately. All future television production at Harpo will be directed
exclusively to OWN. According to the company, this will strengthen the
alignment and programming mission of both companies.
Salata will work closely with Liguori to ensure a smooth transition and maximum
creative output over the coming months.
Lisa Erspamer will continue at OWN as
executive VP of production and development.
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," said Liguori. "I look forward to a robust new
season with Lisa Ling, Rosie [O'Donnell] and a number of projects that will
continue building OWN's audience, brand strength and growth."