Shake-up at OWN as Christina Norman steps down and Peter Liguori moves in

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Less than six months after its debut, Christina Norman is out as president of OWN, the cable channel co-owned by Oprah Winfrey and Discovery Communications.

Norman, a former president of MTV, had been head of OWN for about two years. The channel premiered with a mix of reality and self-help shows, but its ratings have not caught fire. Discovery Communications Chief Operating Officer Peter Liguori, who used to hold senior roles at News Corp.'s Fox Broadcasting and the FX cable network, will step in and run OWN on an interim basis while the search for a successor is underway.

Discovery has pumped north of $200 million into OWN, and there have been several executive changes inside the operation. Winfrey, who is giving up her daytime talk show to focus exclusively on the channel, is also expected to take on an even greater role at the cable network now that her day job is coming to an end.

“I want to thank Christina for her important accomplishments, incredible passion and many sacrifices in helping to launch the network,” said Winfrey in a statement. “With the final taping of ‘The Oprah Winfrey Show’ only a few weeks away, I will soon be able to devote my full energies to OWN.’


Since joining the comapny in 2009, Liguori has focused a lot on OWN. While Liguori took an apartment in the Washington, D.C. area where Discovery is based, he still spends much of his time in Los Angeles where OWN is headquarted.

Discovery Chief Executive David Zaslav said of Liguori that he is the company’s “creative leader’ and ‘highly qualified to assume the leadership at OWN for the next phase of growth.’

-- Joe Flint

For the record: This post was updated to include statements from Oprah Winfrey and Discovery Chief Executive David Zaslav.