TV exec to head new venture in Oprah empire

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President of Regency Television -- Robin Schwartz -- has been named the president of Oprah Winfrey's new cable empire: The Oprah Winfrey Network, the talk show host announced today.

Set to launch next year, OWN takes over the now Discover Health Channel and will be based out of Los Angeles. Winfrey's currently produces her daily television show in Chicago, and her monthly "O" magazine in New York.

“I look forward to working with Robin to build a network that will celebrate the best in people,” said Oprah Winfrey, chairman of OWN, in a statement.

Programming for the network has yet to be announced, with speculation continuing over when reruns of Winfrey's popular talk show might surface on the channel.

Click inside to read the full release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

ROBIN SCHWARTZ NAMED PRESIDENT OWN: THE OPRAH WINFREY NETWORK

Chicago, Ill. and Silver Spring, Md. — Wednesday, June 18, 2008 - Oprah Winfrey and Discovery Communications announced today that Robin Schwartz has been named President for OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network, effective July 14, 2008. Schwartz is currently President of Regency Television in Los Angeles, a joint venture between New Regency Films and News Corporation’s Fox Television Studios. There she serves as a studio head, responsible for all aspects of development and production for scripted comedy and drama series.

As president of OWN, Schwartz will lead all key business functions for the network, including development, programming, production, marketing, research and communications, and will work in partnership with advertising sales and distribution to generate revenue and broaden the value of the OWN brand.

“I look forward to working with Robin to build a network that will celebrate the best in people,” said Oprah Winfrey, Chairman of OWN.

“Robin is a talented creative leader. With her extensive production experience and industry-wide relationships, she will spearhead the development of OWN’s original programming slate for next year’s premiere,”
said David Zaslav, President and CEO, Discovery Communications. “With Oprah’s editorial vision, Discovery’s global platforms and the reach of Oprah.com, Robin has tremendous tools to make OWN a trusted source of information and the definitive voice for living your best life.”

A natural extension of the Oprah Winfrey brand, OWN will feature a diverse array of programming that will engage, enlighten, connect, surprise and support its audience.

OWN staff and operations will be based in Los Angeles. OWN will debut in the second half of 2009 as a multi-platform media venture, featuring OWN:
The Oprah Winfrey Network, (currently Discovery Health Channel) in more than 70 million homes, and the award-winning digital platform, Oprah.com.
Schwartz will report to OWN’s yet to-be-named Chief Executive Officer.

Schwartz is well known for her ability to collaborate with top television and film talent, such as Doug Liman (“Mr. and Mrs. Smith”), Lasse Hallstrom (“My Life as a Dog”), Amy Sherman-Palladino (“Gilmore Girls”), Ted Danson and Andre Braugher.

With Regency Television since 2004, Schwartz oversaw the production of “Malcolm in the Middle” and “The Bernie Mac Show.” She most recently enticed Todd Phillips (“Old School”) to his TV directorial debut for “The More Things Change” for ABC, and produced several new series for Fox including “New Amsterdam,” directed by Hallstrom.

Prior to joining Regency Television, Schwartz served as Vice President of Programming for ABC Family, where she played a key role in the rebranding of the cable channel. In addition to being responsible for scripted series and the network’s teen block of programming, she also developed a hit movie franchise of romantic comedies featuring such creative talent as Patrick Dempsey, Lisa Kudrow and Marissa Jaret Winokur.

An 18-year veteran of broadcast and cable television, Schwartz’s additional roles have included a writing deal with 20th Century Fox Television and Vice President of Primetime Series and Children's Programming for NBC, where she began her career as an assistant and oversaw numerous series, including “Will & Grace.”

Schwartz’s philanthropic endeavors include 2006 and 2007 Co-Chair roles for Girls, Inc., a national non-profit organization for which Schwartz was honored for her efforts to bring vital educational programs to millions of American girls. She serves on the Entertainment Committee of Children's Hospital Los Angeles, and on the board of the Hollywood Radio and Television Society. She previously served as a Governor of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. She has been named to Hollywood Reporter's “Women in Entertainment” Power List for the past three years.

“OWN embodies the ideals I value most,” added Schwartz. “This is the chance of a lifetime to work on expanding a brand and a philosophy I so greatly admire.”

About Discovery Communications
Discovery Communications 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. Discovery Communications is owned by Discovery Holding Company (NASDAQ: DISCA, DISCB), Advance/Newhouse Communications and John S. Hendricks, Discovery's founder and chairman. For more information, please visit www.discoverycommunications.com.

About Harpo
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 (www.oprah.com), a premier lifestyle website. Harpo Print, LLC and Hearst Magazines publish the monthly O, The Oprah Magazine and quarterly O at Home publications. Harpo Films, Inc. produces feature films as well as top-rated telefilms under the "Oprah Winfrey Presents" banner. Harpo Radio, Inc.
produces Oprah & Friends (Channel 156) on XM Satellite Radio. Harpo, Inc.
has also recently partnered with Discovery Communications to launch a new cable network, The Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) in 2009.

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This page contains a single entry by Mark Bieganski published on June 18, 2008 11:31 AM.

Forbes: Oprah tops celeb power list again was the previous entry in this blog.

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