Oprah Winfrey to take on CEO and chief creative officer roles at OWN

Lisa Erspamer moves to exec VP of production and development, while Harpo Studios presidents Erik Logan and Sheri Salata become presidents at OWN.
July 13, 2011

Oprah Winfrey (pictured) is taking on a larger role at her namesake network, moving into the chief executive officer and chief creative officer positions this fall.

Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) has also appointed Erik Logan and Sheri Salata, currently presidents of Winfrey’s Harpo Studios, as presidents, effective immediately. Future TV production at Harpo Studios will be directed exclusively at OWN.

Lisa Erspamer, OWN’s most recent chief creative officer, is staying with the Discovery Communications/Harpo joint venture as executive VP for production and development.

Winfrey, currently chairman of the network, takes the reins at OWN as CEO following the exit of previous CEO Christina Norman, and the arrival of Discovery Communications COO Peter Liguori as interim CEO.

“I am ready to dedicate my full creative energy and focus as the full time CEO of OWN,” said Winfrey. “By aligning the mission, talent and leadership of Erik, Sheri, the OWN team, the Harpo team, along with expertise of David Zaslav, Peter and all of Discovery behind us, we can unleash the full potential of the network.”

Liguori added: “The announcement of Oprah, Erik and Sheri completes the plan for developing a strategic creative track and finding the right management team to execute on that plan going forward.

“I look forward to a robust new season with Lisa Ling, Rosie [O'Donnell, host of her own talk show on the net premiering in October] and a number of projects that will continue building OWN’s audience, brand strength and growth.”

Logan came to Harpo in 2008 as exec VP after serving as exec VP of programming and broadcast operations at XM Satellite Radio. Salata came to Harpo Studios in 1995 as a promotions producer and more than 15 years worked in myriad capacities for the company, serving as exec producer for The Oprah Winfrey Show from 1996 to its 2011 finale.

About The Author
Daniele Alcinii is a news reporter at realscreen, the leading international publisher of non-fiction film and television industry news and content. He joins the rs team with journalism experience following a stint out west with Sun Media in Edmonton's Capital Region, and communications work in Melbourne, Australia and Toronto. You can follow him on Twitter at @danielealcinii.