Winfrey’s world widens | Experts key to Winfrey formula
January 2008: Oprah Winfrey and Discovery Communications first announce their 50/50 partnership to turn Discovery Health Channel into the Oprah Winfrey Network. Announced start date: the second half of 2009.
February 2008: MTV president Christina Norman exits; rumors begin that she might end up at OWN.
June 2008: Regency TV prexy Robin Schwartz joins OWN as president.
August 2008: TV producer Nina Wass joins as senior VP of creative affairs.
September 2008: Lifetime development exec Maria Grasso departs to join OWN.
December 2008: Liz Dolan named chief marketing officer.
January 2009: Norman finally takes long-rumored OWN CEO job.
April 2009: OWN unveils its initial programming slate: a strip hosted by professional organizer Peter Walsh; a sex and relationships show hosted by Dr. Laura Berman; “Excellent Adventure” from Ashton Kutcher’s Katalyst Films; newsmag “Lisa Ling Investigates”; and the Winfrey-hosted “Master Class.” OWN also reveals a new pre-launch logo.
April 2009: With Norman in charge, Schwartz exits OWN after just 10 months as president. Grasso and Wass soon follow.
June 2009: NBC alum and unscripted vet Jamila Hunter joins OWN as head programmer.
Mid-2009: Timetable for OWN launch moved to “some time in 2010.”
November 2009: Harpo vet Lisa Erspamer joins OWN as chief creative officer.
November 2009: Discovery boss David Zaslav tells analysts Winfrey plans to end her syndie show after her deal is up in 2011. Harpo says Winfrey has made no such decision, but Winfrey later confirms that “The Oprah Winfrey Show” will end in 2011. Discovery announces that OWN will now launch Jan. 1, 2011.
March 2010: Hunter steps down as programming chief; Rod Aissa, Michele Dix and Drew Tappon land top development jobs.
April 2010: New shows announced include “Oprah’s Next Chapter,” Mark Burnett’s “Your Own Show” competish and series hosted by Gayle King and Shania Twain.
August 2010: OWN picks up Rosie O’Donnell talkshow previously pitched in syndication.
October 2010: OWN unveils yet another new logo – its third prior to launch.
November 2010: OWN adds reality shows starring Ryan and Tatum O’Neal; Carson Kressley; and Naomi and Wynonna Judd.
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