Oprah's OWN Names President: Robin Schwartz
Schwartz starts in July 14, well in advance of the network launch some time in the summer of 2009 or later. The channel is a joint venture between Winfrey's Harpo Productions and Discovery, and includes Oprah.com.
Los Angeles-based Schwartz is currently the president of Regency Television, where Fox studios have an interest. OWN will also be based there, 3,000 miles from Discovery's Washington-area HQ.
Schwartz will report to an unnamed CEO.
One of her principal duties--in addition to developing programming--will be to oversee the further crafting of an OWN brand.
Winfrey offered a somewhat murky mantra for the network, saying it "will celebrate the best in people." Discovery followed suit: "OWN will feature a diverse array of programming that will engage, enlighten, connect, surprise and support its audience."
OWN will emerge from the elimination of the Discovery Health Channel, taking over its reach into 70-plus million homes.
Schwartz joined Regency in 2004. "Malcolm" and "Bernie Mac" were already established hits, but she had a role in their production in their final years. Discovery said she is known for attracting top talent--including a producer on hit film "Old School," Todd Phillips, to direct a coming ABC show. She produced several new series for Fox, including "New Amsterdam," directed by Lasse Hallstrom, who also directed the Swedish film "My Life as a Dog."
Schwartz also worked with Doug Liman ("Mr. and Mrs. Smith") and Amy Sherman-Palladino ("Gilmore Girls").
Before Regency, Schwartz had a top production role at ABC Family. In a previous post at NBC, she had a role in oversight of "Will & Grace."
Schwartz continues to land dream positions. When moving to Regency, she told Variety she now had "the best job in TV." Regarding the OWN opportunity, she said: "This is the chance of a lifetime."