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Sheri Salata is leaving OWN.
The co-president of the Oprah Winfrey-fronted cable network is stepping down after five years, it was announced Wednesday.
Her co-president, Erik Logan, will now serve as sole president of OWN. The two first stepped into their roles in July 2011 several months after the Discovery-owned channel launched. Before that, Salata worked with Winfrey for more than 15 years. She first joined Winfrey’s Harpo Studios in 1995 as a promotions producer. Salata worked her way up to executive producer of The Oprah Winfrey Show, which she oversaw for the daytime hit’s final years before it left the airwaves in 2011.
Salata and Winfrey will continue to work together despite the former’s departure. Salata is launching a brand innovation agency, which will count OWN and the Oprah Winfrey Media Group as some of its first clients.
“I give my deep thanks and appreciation to Sheri not only for helping to create a strong platform of growth for OWN and our digital business, but for her tireless commitment and sacrifice producing the final years of ‘The Oprah Winfrey Show.’ It was an unparalleled time of our lives,” Winfrey said in a statement. “I am excited about what we are doing at OWN and look forward to continuing our growth with Erik and the dedicated team as we take our company to the next level.”
Over the past five years as co-president of OWN, Salata and Logan had overseen day-to-day operations of the network, which has experienced viewership growth thanks to several scripted series from Tyler Perry, as well as unscripted projects from Winfrey such as Super Soul Sunday and Oprah’s LifeClass. In June, OWN will launch a new megachurch drama Greenleaf from Six Feet Under writer Craig Wright and featuring Winfrey in a recurring acting role. OWN has shown great faith in the series, renewing it for a second season two months ahead of its June 21 premiere. The network also has a drama series from Selma director Ava DuVernay in the works.
“It’s time to take what has been the ride of my life to the next level in creating my own agency and doing what I love best — telling stories,” said Salata. “Oprah has been my North Star and spiritual mentor for 20 years and her faith in me and this next venture means everything. Erik and the entire OWN team are simply the best in the business and I can’t wait to see what unfolds.”
Added Logan: “My partnership and friendship with Sheri has been one of the most rewarding in my career. I am grateful for everything she has put into our success. She has our entire support as she follows her new dream.”
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