Liguori re-emerges as Discovery COO

TV veteran returns to industry as of Jan. 19

Peter Liguori is back, and he will serve as David Zaslav's new right-hand man.

Discovery Communications has hired the TV veteran as COO, effective Jan. 19, reporting to president and CEO Zaslav.

Liguori replaces Mark Hollinger, who last week assumed the role of president and CEO of Discovery Networks International.

Most recently, Liguori helped advise Comcast on its play for a 51% majority stake in NBC Uni.

He was previously entertainment president for Fox Broadcast Co., rising to entertainment chairman at the network until his March exit in the executive shakeup at News Corp. tied to the departure of News Corp. president Peter Chernin.

But probably key to his hire at Discovery was Liguori's seven-year tenure as president and CEO of FX Networks, shepherding FX's ascend to a a top-tier basic cable channel. He also has extensive background as a marketing executive.

"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.

As COO, Liguori will be a key member of the senior management team with oversight of marketing, Discovery Studios, corporate communications and corporate affairs, business affairs, as well as media technology, production and operations.

Liguori said he will spend the next 30 days learning more about the company.
"The Discovery portfolio is moving at a great pace and is great shape and it's my job to accelerate that growth, stay on brand and oversee some of the joint ventures," he said.

Liguori will serve as the lead executive representing Discovery Communications in its joint ventures with Hasbro and OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network and will chair Discovery's content committee.

"No one knows Oprah's brand and audience like Oprah," Liguori said. "My hope is that I can support her and (OWN CEO) Christina (Norman), who was a terrific hire."

The appointment at Discovery puts an end to months of speculation where Liguori might end up that included ramblings about interest from pay cable channel Starz and Major League Baseball, among others.