Former MTV Networks chief opts for OWN perch

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When she left MTV Networks a year ago, Christina Norman was anything but ready to go back into the TV business. There were family and personal priorities.

But now, she's set to take the reins of OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network, which will take to cable late this year or early next year.

"My story mirrors the mission and goals of this network: living your best life," Norman said Thursday after word of her appointment was made official by the network's owners, Winfrey's Harpo and Discovery Communications.

Norman said she felt lucky that when she was ready to get back into the business, the position as CEO of OWN had opened up.

Norman, a nearly two-decade veteran of MTV Networks, has been president of MTV and VH1. She will be based in Los Angeles and report to the OWN board of directors and lead a team that includes Robin Schwartz, president of OWN Television, and Robert Tercek, president of digital media at OWN.com. Norman worked with Tercek years ago at MTV Networks.

"There are tons of ideas that are in development, and we'll knot those together into an experience that is going to be compelling for our audience," Norman said. "This is so needed right now."

Norman said OWN will have a television "evolution" that includes some faces familiar to Oprah's audience as well as newer types of content.

"I think you'll see formats that you're used to like scripted programming, alternative programming, talk show formats, magazine show formats, made-for- television movies and documentaries," she said. She also said there would be acquisitions that would be right for the audience.

But she sidestepped a question about whether it would include "The Oprah Winfrey Show" if and when the show leaves syndication.

Norman worked for 17 years at MTV Networks, becoming president in 2005 after a run as head of VH1. She began at MTV in 1991 as a production manager for promotional spots. (partialdiff)
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