OWN Hires Head of Programming

The top executive transformation at OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network continued Thursday when Jamila Hunter was named head of programming.

Effective Wednesday, Hunter will oversee all programming development for the network, reporting to CEO Christina Norman.

Hunter’s appointment comes five months after Norman took the reins of OWN and a month after Robin Schwartz stepped down as president.

With her all-scripted background and limited cable experience, Schwartz was a surprising first top exec hire at cable upstart OWN, whose inaugural slate is built on unscripted series/talk shows, specials and theatricals.

Norman, a 17-year MTV Network veteran who served as president of MTV and VH1, is considered a perfect choice to spearhead the launch of OWN. So is Hunter, a veteran unscripted executive with cable experience, to oversee the network’s development slate.

Hunter was a key member of the team that rebranded Bravo with the launch of such series as Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, Project Runway, Celebrity Poker Showdown and Blow Out.

She comes to OWN from NBC where she served as senior vp alternative and digital programming.

Hunter’s tenure at NBC dates back to the network’s coverage of the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta.

She was also instrumental in the creation of NBC’s alternative strategy with series like Fear Factor, Last Comic Standing and The Apprentice.

After a three-year stint on the scripted side as vp comedy development at 20th TV, hunter returned to NBC in 2008 and most recently has been responsible for such projects as Jerry Seinfeld’s upcoming series The Marriage Ref, the U.S. adaptation of the BBC series Have I Got News for You, and the comedic summer series Great American Road Trip.

“Jamila shares my passion for programming that breaks new ground and speaks to audiences in new ways,” Norman said. “She has the perfect blend of experience to lead the development and creation of unique and innovative non-fiction programming worthy of our aspirations.”

As vp development and production at Bravo, Hunter oversaw the cable network’s West Coast development and production team and supervised such projects as Project Greenlight, Blowout, Significant Others and Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List.

Source: THR.com

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