Peter Liguori, chief operating officer at Discovery Communications has been named CEO of the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) and will replace former MTV executive Christina Norman in the role.
Ratings at the fledgling network have been disappointing since its launch. OWN’s top-rated program is “Season 25: Oprah Behind The Scenes” which looks at the last season of the daytime television show. The problem is that this may indicate that viewers aren’t overly interested in other content that does not feature Oprah herself.
During the first quarter of 2011, the network ranked No. 45 among all cable networks in total viewers and adults 18 to 49, trailing mid-tier competitors like WeTV and Oxygen as well as Lifetime and Lifetime Movie Network.
Discovery has made a big bet on OWN, investing an initial $189 million in the network. It followed-up in February by announcing that it would invest an additional $50 million. That’s a lot of cheddar being focused to meet the necessity of original programming to woo more viewers to OWN. Recently, Discovery CEO David Zaslav said the company would make a further investment in programming although he did not offer a specific amount.