Oprah Winfrey to Add CEO, Chief Creative Officer Titles at OWN

4:43 AM PST 07/13/2011 by Georg Szalai
Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

Erik Logan and Sheri Salata, the current presidents of Harpo Studios, the TV unit of Winfrey's Harpo Productions, are taking over as presidents of the Discovery Communications joint venture network.


NEW YORK - Oprah Winfrey will add the CEO title of OWN: the Oprah Winfrey Network, her cable network joint venture with Discovery Communications, the network said Wednesday. The change, which shows her desire to take full creative and operational control, will take effect in the fall.

In the network's latest management shuffle and an attempt by the TV star to increase her control over the channel's direction, Winfrey, who has already been chairman, will also serve as chief creative officer of the network, whose early ratings were below expectations.

In a related move, Erik Logan and Sheri Salata, the current presidents of Harpo Studios, the TV unit of Winfrey's Harpo Productions, are  taking over as presidents of OWN, effective immediately. Harpo will start focusing all of its new TV production on OWN.

After its January launch, OWN's CEO Christina Norman was pushed out in May, and Discovery Communications COO Peter Liguori was named interim CEO.

“I am ready to dedicate my full creative energy and focus as the full time CEO of OWN," Winfrey said in a statement. "By aligning the mission, talent and leadership of Erik, Sheri, the OWN team, the Harpo team, along with expertise of [Discovery Communications CEO] David Zaslav, Peter and all of Discovery behind us, we can unleash the full potential of the network."

“The 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."

Winfrey earlier this month spent several days at Allen & Co.'s annual gathering of media and tech moguls.

Email: Georg.Szalai@thr.com

Twitter: @georgszalai

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