Magazine article The Crisis

Her OWN Path

Magazine article The Crisis

Her OWN Path

Article excerpt


Veteran TV Executive Runs Oprah's Network

It was a no-brainer for Christina Norman. Work for Oprah Winfrey, running her to-be-developed network OWN? Yep, sign Norman right up.

"The best part of this experience has been getting the opportunity to work with Oprah, to help her craft this vision, to bring it to life, to take the knowledge that I've built over the years in cable, and clearly the knowledge that she's built over the years of communicating with people," Norman says from her Los Angeles-based office. "And we're using her mighty platform for all kinds of good and seeing how those things can come together to create something new."

Norman has an extensive background in cable television. She worked for 17 years at MTV, where she headed up in-house promotional spots for shows such as Beavis and Butt-Head. A native New Yorker - Norman grew up in the Bronx - she earned her degree in film production from Boston University and rose up the ranks. She started off as a production assistant with a small production company, and in 2005 she became president of MTV, supervising the network's creative and business endeavors.

She left the music network in 2008 explaining that she was burnt-out. But right before she left, the courting process to come to OWN began. However, after doing initial interviews for the OWN position, she took herself out of the running, deciding that she wasn't ready to take on such a heady task. Months later, she was contacted again by a headhunter, asking if she had recommendations for the top OWN position. She was ready this time. The TV veteran began working for OWN in February 2009.

Norman describes working for the new Winfrey outlet as her dream job. She loves the challenge because she gets to create something new with a TV icon like Winfrey, she says.

"I really wanted to be a part of something that was going to be meaningful, something that was going to be relevant, something that was going to excite people and, you know, that's Oprah in three words," Norman says of what enticed her to come back to the TV business after leaving MTV.

This year, she plans on rolling out a number of shows - some heartfelt; others will show a grittier, lesson-learned side of life - and can't wait to help build the audience for the network. …

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