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Winfrey Takes Control of OWN, Becomes CEO, Chief Creative Officer

Oprah Winfrey has upgraded her titles at the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) and changed from Chairman to CEO, and Chief Creative Officer, in an attempt to improve the channel’s ratings performance.

Winfrey retired her top-rated television show in May in order to focus all of her attention on OWN. The cable network, which is a joint venture with Discovery Communications, has suffered much lower ratings than expected throughout the first half of 2011.

Also receiving new titles are the current presidents of Winfrey’s TV unit of Harpo Productions, Erik Logan and Sheri Salata. Harpo Productions will be focusing all its attention on OWN as well.

Winfrey’s new title as Chief Creative Officer displays her need to take creative and procedural power over the channel’s direction. In a statement Winfrey said, “I am ready to dedicate my full creative energy and focus as the full time CEO of OWN.”

She added: “By aligning the mission, talent, and leadership of Erik, Sheri, and the OWN team, the Harpo team, along with the expertise of David Zaslav, Peter, and all of Discovery behind us, we can unleash the full potential of the network.”

In a statement responding to the title changes of Winfrey, Erik, and Sheri, Discovery Communications’ Liguori said, “I look forward to a robust new season with Lisa Ling, Rosie O’Donnell, and a number of projects that will continue to build OWN’s audience, brand strength, and growth.”

OWN programming covers a mix of strips, specials, original documentaries, programs, and acquired movies, and includes Winfrey’s new primetime show on the network’s Oprah’s Next Chapter channel.

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