Discovery Communications’ Eileen O’Neill announces departure

Named global group president for Discovery Studios last August, O'Neill is leaving the global media company after 25 years.
February 20, 2015

Longtime Discovery Communications executive Eileen O’Neill is leaving the global media company in May of this year, after 25 years.

Named global group president of Discovery Studios last August, O’Neill announced her plans this morning (February 20) in an internal memo.

Prior to taking the role at Discovery Studios, O’Neill served as group president of Discovery Channel, Science Channel and Velocity.

When news of her appointment as global group president of Discovery Studios broke, Discovery Communications CEO and president David Zaslav said of O’Neill: “”Eileen is one of the very best we have at Discovery,” he added. “In this new role, she will accelerate the growth, output and development of our production engines, and oversee the strategy and investment in new programming, new content creators, new categories and new technologies.”

In the role, O’Neill was set to oversee all of the internal facilities and creative talent of Discovery Studios, as well as manage Discovery’s in-house production units, and acquired prodcos, betty and Raw TV. She was also to serve on the board of directors for All3Media upon the completion of Discovery’s acquisition of that company.

In making her announcement that she was leaving, O’Neill noted the date of her departure – May 1 – was significant “as it marks my 25th anniversary with this truly amazing company.”

In her note, she highlighted the many successes shared between her and her team: “Together, we still hold the highest prime delivery this century of any reality show on all major ad-supported cable networks for W25-54 (4.1M) and W18-49 (4.6M) (Jon and Kate); we introduced a sweet baker and a couple of fast and loud car guys to our global audiences; we celebrated five more births with Jim and Michelle Duggar since we first met them in 2004; we held hands and held our collective breath watching Felix Baumgartner ascend to Emmy-winning heights and Nik Wallenda power-walk across the Grand Canyon and into history; we cheered as Prince William and Kate said ‘I Do’ to our global audiences Live; we said prayers for and with our talent (both crew and on-air characters) as they ventured to some of the harshest locations around the world, some never to return; one dark September day, some of us huddled with colleagues and strangers in offices, waiting for an all clear signal that it was safe to leave One Discovery Place; we kept audiences hooked on chopper builders and gold seekers; we took risks to find the first images of a giant squid and we crashed a 727 airplane for the sake of aviation safety; we found a little couple big on heart and a medium full of love; we never shied from controversy whether it was with Muslims in Michigan, Sarah in Alaska or Amish folk in places which surprised; and, of course, we unleashed mega sharks (and a seal named Snuffy) for record-breaking Shark Weeks.”

The news was first reported by Deadline Hollywood.

About The Author
Barry Walsh is editor and content director for realscreen, and has served as editor of the publication since 2009. With a career in entertainment media that spans two decades, prior to realscreen, he held the associate editor post for now defunct sister publication Boards, which focused on the advertising and commercial production industries. Before Boards, he served as editor of Canadian Music Network, a weekly music industry trade, and as music editor for As content director, he also oversees the development of content for the brand's market-leading events, the Realscreen Summit and Realscreen West, as well as new content initiatives.