OWN hires Nicole Nichols

She becomes senior vp communications and strategy

Nicole Nichols, senior vp entertainment communications at the Disney-ABC Television Group, has been tapped to head up PR efforts at OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network, the joint venture between Discovery Communications and Winfrey's Harpo Prods.

In her new role as senior vp communications and strategy, Nichols will serve as chief spokesperson and develop and implement internal and external communications strategies for the multiplatform venture. She will be a key member of the senior team, based in OWN's Los Angeles headquarters starting Monday and reporting to network president Robin Schwartz.

"Nicole brings a diverse set of skills to OWN, which range from an unparalleled strategic vision to a remarkable talent for implementing a strong corporate image, all of which will be invaluable to our mission," Schwartz said.

Nichols most recently was responsible for strategic communications efforts for five business units in the Disney-ABC Television Group, including ABC Entertainment, ABC Daytime, ABC Studios, ABC Family and SoapNet.

OWN is set to launch in second-half 2009. Winfrey serves as chairman; a CEO has not been chosen.