Los Angeles — Christina Norman has been named chief executive officer of OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network, it was announced today by Oprah Winfrey, chairman of OWN, and David Zaslav, president and CEO of Discovery Communications. With nearly two decades of excellence in broadcasting, Norman is recognized as one of the industry's most powerful and savvy businesswomen, most recently having served as president of MTV. She will report directly to the OWN board of directors and will assume her new post on February 17. Norman will be located at the company's Los Angeles headquarters.
As CEO, Norman will oversee all business and creative areas of OWN, the new cable channel and multiplatform media venture designed to entertain, empower, connect and inspire people to live their best lives. She will work closely with Robin Schwartz, president, OWN Television, in building the new cable network slated to launch in late 2009/early 2010 on what is currently Discovery Health Channel. Likewise, she will work closely with Robert Tercek, president, Digital Media, who oversees Oprah.com, the established Web destination, and the OWN website, slated to launch later this year. Both Schwartz and Tercek will report directly to Norman.
"I've always had the utmost admiration and respect for Christina's innovative strategies and management style. She is a proven leader. Her shared values, passion and enthusiasm make her a natural fit for OWN's emerging platforms. We're thrilled to have her," said Oprah.
"Christina is a strong leader with proven operational skills and a record of creating contemporary and valuable media brands. She is a great fit for OWN and will bring longstanding industry experience to launching the brand across television and digital platforms and giving consumers a dedicated environment to live their best life," said Zaslav.
"This is the job I've been working toward my entire career," said Norman. "To be building a new channel inspired by Oprah Winfrey and backed by Discovery Communications is a challenge I welcome, and I am thrilled to bring their vision for OWN to life. They have already assembled an amazing creative team, and I cannot wait to get to work with Robin, Robert and the entire OWN staff to launch what will be a distinctive voice in television."
A veteran of MTV Networks for more than 17 years, Norman was named president of MTV in 2005 and oversaw all aspects of the network's creative and business endeavors, providing leadership, strategy and management. Prior to that, she was president of MTV's sister network VH1, where she received wide industry praise for the network's diverse programming slate and for leading the network to its highest viewership levels in 19 years on the air. Beginning in 2002, Norman was executive vice president and general manager of VH1, and in less than a year after taking this post, the flagging network's fortunes and ratings were completely reversed thanks to her aggressive new production mandate and identity campaign. In 1999, she was named senior vice president, marketing and on-air promotions at MTV, adding marketing to the areas she previously oversaw as SVP, on-air promotions, the post she held since 1997. She joined the MTV family in 1991 as a production manager for the network's in-house promotional spots. An instrumental player behind the hit animated series and pop-culture phenomenon Beavis and Butt-Head, Norman went on to spearhead promotion for hit series including The Osbournes and 10 Spot, rising through the network's on-air promotions department ranks over the next six years. Norman began her career in the commercial production business in New York in the '80s, and was first introduced to MTV when she worked as a freelance production coordinator for the network.
One of the highest-ranking African-American women in the entertainment industry, Norman has been regularly included in The Hollywood Reporter's "Power 100 Women in Entertainment" and Ebony magazine's "Top 10 African-Americans in Television." In 2006, she was named one of Multichannel News' "Wonder Women" and has been profiled in Advertising Age's "Media Mavens" issue. She was named National Public Service winner by the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences in 2002 for three on-air spots for MTV's "Fight for Your Rights: Protect Yourself" campaign.
Norman serves on the Mount Sinai Adolescent Health Center Advisory Board and the BRIC Arts Media Brooklyn Board.
About OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network
A joint venture between Oprah Winfrey and Discovery Communications, OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network is a multiplatform media company designed to entertain, inform and inspire people to live their best lives. OWN will debut in more than 70 million homes on what is currently the Discovery Health Channel. The venture also will include the award-winning digital platform Oprah.com.
About Discovery Communications
Discovery Communications (NASDAQ: DISCA, DISCB, DISCK) is the world's number one nonfiction media company, reaching more than 1.5 billion cumulative subscribers in over 170 countries. Discovery empowers people to explore their world and satisfy their curiosity through 100-plus worldwide networks, led by Discovery Channel, TLC, Animal Planet, Science Channel, Planet Green, Investigation Discovery and HD Theater, as well as leading consumer and educational products and services and a diversified portfolio of digital media services, including HowStuffWorks.com. For more information, please visit www.discoverycommunications.com.
Harpo Productions, Inc. produces the number one–rated, award-winning The Oprah Winfrey Show; creates and develops original TV programming for primetime, syndication and cable television; and operates Oprah.com, a premier lifestyle website. Harpo Print, LLC and Hearst Magazines publish the monthly O, The Oprah Magazine publication. Harpo Films is dedicated to high-quality scripted dramatic programming and recently announced an exclusive television deal with HBO. Harpo Radio, Inc. produces Oprah Radio (XM channel 156, Sirius channel 195) on Sirius XM Radio. A joint venture between Oprah Winfrey and Discovery Communications, OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network, a multiplatform company, will debut in late 2009 or early 2010 in more than 70 million homes on what is currently the Discovery Health Channel.