Peter Liguori, who was cut
loose as Fox's president of entertainment in March, has been named COO of
Discovery Communications. Liguori will join the company Jan. 19, 2010. He is
replacing Mark Hollinger, who was named president and CEO of Discovery Networks
In his new role Liguori will have oversight of Discovery Studios, marketing,
corporate communications and affairs, business affairs and media technology as
well as production and operations. He will report to Discovery President and
CEO David Zaslav, and will be based out of Discovery's Silver Spring
headquarters, though he says he will be maintaining a presence in Los Angeles.
"One of the great luxuries of taking this position is that there is no
reason to come in and fix everything," Liguori told B&C. "I think the mission at hand is continue to fan the
flames of all the good that is happening at the company, to really accelerate
the momentum that all the networks have, and the momentum that discovery the
parent company has."
In addition to his operational responsibilities, Liguori will be Discovery's
point person to both OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network, and the new channel being
developed with Hasbro.
"[I want to] allow Oprah and Christina to do what they do best," he
says. "Oprah knows her brand and she knows her audience and her fans, I
just want to make sure I am affording her all the opportunities and resources
and thinking to make that network a success."
With regards to the Hasbro joint venture, Liguori says he will be meeting with
its president, Margaret Loesch, in the coming weeks to discuss her vision for
He will also chair Discovery's Content Committee, comprised of the GMs of the
U.S. Discovery networks. He says his priorities will be to talk to the network
heads and seeing where his talents could best be utilized.
"What I hope to do is hear everyone out, see what is working, and where
they see areas of opportunity," he says. "Just because those networks
are successful, it doesn't mean they cannot be more successful."
One of the areas he plans to be active in is reaching out to the Los Angeles creative
community, a community Liguori knows well from his time at Fox and FX.
"I have to say, I am excited by the prospect of reaching out to the talent
community here in Los Angeles
for their non-fiction ideas," Liguori says. "The LA community, the LA
storytellers and the biggest talent out here always have this one itch they
want to scratch, and maybe that is where the next big miniseries or event is
going to come from, and what better way to do it than with someone who was a
facility for storytelling."
"Peter has been one of the most successful leaders in the media industry
over the past 25 years, and has a keen eye for standout marketing and
distinctive, compelling content," said Zaslav. "He brings to
Discovery managerial depth and extensive relationships with the creative
community that will be major assets as we continue to build our existing
brands, launch new services and create additional opportunities for growth."