Kressley, Cora developing OWN shows

8:00 PM PST 06/09/2010 by James Hibberd, AP

Cable net hires MTV Networks vet John MacDonald

Oprah Winfrey's upcoming cable network OWN is making several executive changes and developing three shows.

The network's programming department is shifting top executives, and OWN is appointing former MTV Networks programming veteran John MacDonald as COO/executive vp programming and digital.

On the programming side, OWN is working on shows starring celebrity chef Cat Cora and fashion expert Carson Kressley; each involves makeovers or personal transformation.

The first is a pilot order where Cora visits families in need of a crucial lifestyle change. The former Iron Chef will demonstrate how to combine healthy eating with busy lifestyles. Shed Media ("Real Housewives of New York City") will produce.

The network also is piloting "Confrontation: The Conversation," which documents a mediation program where a crime victim and offender come together to try to find a measure of closure. Tom Forman ("Breakthrough With Tony Robbins") will exec produce.

In addition, "True Beauty" host Kressley is developing a make-better show for the network.

Among the executive shifts, MacDonald will be responsible for program planning, digital strategy, business development and day-to-day operations.

"John is an expert at building businesses from the ground up and will be instrumental as we prepare for OWN's launch and the future of the network," said CEO Christina Norman, to whom he will report.

Before MTV, MacDonald worked at Web venture Veoh Networks, Fox and Twentieth Television.

In addition, former Uber.com president and CEO Glenn Kaino has joined OWN Digital as senior vp creative to lead the network's digital team and social media efforts. He'll report to Norman.

Also, OWN has tapped Rod Aissa and Michele Dix as senior vps primetime programming and development.

Aissa joins the network from Katalyst Media; Dix has been consulting at OWN for several months and was senior vp music and talent development at MTV Networks Music Group.

"Rod and Michele join OWN with unique perspectives and impressive work histories," said chief creative officer Lisa Erspamer, to whom they will report. "They both have been responsible for creating memorable programming that reflects a distinct voice, and I look forward to working with them."

Former OWN programming head Jamila Hunter is leaving the channel. Liz Dolan, the network's chief marketing officer, and marketing executive Greg Neal also are resigning to resume running their own businesses.

OWN, the joint venture between Winfrey and Discovery Communications, plans to launch Jan. 1 in about 80 million homes.
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