OWN undergoing executive reshuffling

Trio to oversee development for Oprah Winfrey network

Four months after she was brought in as chief creative officer at OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network, 15-year Harpo Prods. veteran Lisa Erspamer is rearranging the upstart’s development executive structure.

Deals are still being finalized, but unscripted executives Rod Aissa, Michele Dix and Drew Tappon are expected to oversee development for the cable network, a joint venture between Discovery Communications and Harpo.

All three will hold senior vp titles, reporting to Erspamer, with Aissa and Dix focusing on primetime and Tappon concentrating on daytime.

Jamila Hunter, who joined OWN as head of programming in June, will step down from the position and serve as a development exec under Aissa and Dix. The purely development position is considered a better fit for the young executive, who had been loaded with a lot of administrative responsibilities in the top programming job. 

This is the latest executive realignment at OWN, which replaced its original programming team of president Robin Schwartz and her top lieutenants — senior vp programing Maria Grasso and senior vp creative affairs Nina Wass — after MTV Network veteran Christina Norman took the reins of OWN as CEO a year ago.

Aissa, Dix and Tappon are said to be Erspamer’s picks, though all three have worked in different capacities with Norman during her tenure at MTV.

Aissa most recently was an executive at Ashton Kutcher’s Katalyst Films, working on such reality series as “True Beauty” and “Punk’d.”  He also was involved in MTV’s “The Osbournes” and “Newlyweds: Nick & Jessica.”

Dix, who has been working at OWN as a consultant for seven months, is a 14-year MTV veteran, most recently serving as senior vp music & talent development for VH1 & MTV Networks Music Group.

Tappon most recently was senior creative executive, alternative programming at Warner Horizon Television, where he oversaw such series as “The Bachelor,” “True Beauty” and “Leave It to Lamas.”  Before that, he was at MTV Networks for 12 years in positions including senior vp original programming and series development.

OWN, scheduled to launch in January, is slated to talk about its inaugural lineup at its April 8 upfront presentation.

News of OWN's executive reshuffling first surfaced on the Wrap.
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