Oprah Winfrey Network Names Former MTV Exec CEO

Christina Norman Takes Helm; Launch of Discovery Venture Still a Year Off

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- The executive board at Discovery Communications' forthcoming Oprah Winfrey Network, or OWN, is finally complete, with Christina Norman now helming the company as CEO. Ms. Norman comes from MTV, where she most recently served as president before leaving the company last February.

Christina Norman
Christina Norman
Ms. Norman will assume her new post Feb. 17 in Discovery's Los Angeles office.

Ms. Norman will work alongside OWN Television President Robin Schwartz to greenlight programming for the network's late 2009/early 2010 launch, on what is currently the Discovery Health Channel, available in 70 million homes.

Ms. Winfrey's involvement in the programming has yet to be determined, although her eponymous daytime talk show is still tied up in syndication contracts until 2011. Discovery CEO David Zaslav has said publicly he expects to bring the show to OWN once its current contract expires.

Will help online growth
Ms. Norman will also help grow the Oprah brand online, helping Robert Tercek, OWN's president of digital media, oversee Oprah.com and the new OWN website, scheduled to launch later this year.

Ms. Norman brings 17 years of marketing and programming experience to OWN, including a three-year run as president of MTV, where she oversaw celeb-reality franchises such as "The Hills" and "A Shot at Love with Tila Tequila."

In a statement, Ms. Winfrey said, "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."

Ms. Norman added, "This is the job I've been working toward my entire career. 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."

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