Oprah Takes Over as CEO of OWN

Source says title will be more than honorific

Oprah Winfrey is cementing her control over her struggling cable network. Earlier this morning, OWN announced that Winfrey will be taking over as chief executive officer and chief creative officer of the Discovery-owned network. The move comes after the dismissal of Christina Norman from the chief executive post in May. Discovery chief operating officer Peter Liguori had been filling in as OWN CEO after Norman was let go.

“I am ready to dedicate my full creative energy and focus as the full-time CEO of OWN,” Winfrey is quoted as saying in an announcement about the move.

As part of her appointment, Winfrey is bringing in colleagues from Harpo Studios, her production company in Chicago. Harpo presidents Erik Logan and Sheri Salata will now be working under Winfrey as presidents of OWN.

Winfrey has said that she believes part of what’s contributed to her network’s lackluster performance thus far has been her relative lack of involvement in the day-to-day process of shaping OWN’s strategy and brand. "I need to be there. I need to be engaged and involved," she said at the Cable Show in Chicago last month. "I need to do the same thing [with OWN] I did on my show every day."

A source close to the network told Adweek that the appointment today is a step toward implementing that goal and that Winfrey's appointment as CEO is in no way honorific—she will be managing the operations of her network.  “This is a real title,” the source said. “This is the executive structure she has used to manage a very successful team at Harpo, and she’s replicating that here.”