Oprah Builds OWN Team
June 20, 2008 10:52 AM
This week Oprah Winfrey and Discovery Communications announced that Robin Schwartz, a relative unknown quantity in cable programming circles, was named president of the Oprah Winfrey Network that debuts next year.
But what’s more odd, is that Oprah didn’t name a CEO first. Usually, the big suit is hired first, allowing him or her to handpick the dream team.
What the Schwartz announcement says to me is that Oprah will be very hands on with the editorial direction of OWN. Rumors have been abuzz for months that MTV Networks CEO Judy McGrath was a contender for the top spot. I’ve also heard that former Turner exec Scott Sassa has his hat in the ring, too.
Another name in the swirl is Susan Lyne, who left Martha Steward Living Omnimedia last week.
But does it really matter who gets the gig? Given the Schwartz hire, it’s clear to all that Oprah will run the new cable net with an iron fist.