“I can figure anything out.”
It must be tough being CEO of one of the most anticipated networks yet to launch, especially when the network is called “OWN” and named after one of the most powerful women in the world. If anyone is up to the task it is Christina Norman, CEO of the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN). With a track record of achieving strong results, this media veteran is bound to help OWN become powerful from the start.
Born in New York, NY, Christina grew up in the boroughs of Queens and the Bronx. Interest in the arts and entertainment was in her genes as her parents were strong music enthusiasts. In college, she chose film as her major and received a film degree from Boston University. After college she entered into a position in advertising, working behind the camera for commercials. 1991 marked the beginning of her “big break” when she was hired into MTV Networks. Through her extensive career with MTV networks she launched and re-launched some of the most successful ventures in the network’s history. It was during her time there that her boss asked around to see if anyone knew animation as he was recruiting staff for a new show (Beavis and Butthead). She promptly replied, “I do,” even though she did not. She told Crain’s that though she did not have any experience, she seized the opportunity and figured she could “figure anything out” which is exactly what she did. Some of her other significant achievements included launching MTV, MTV2, mtvU, MTV Tr3s, and MTV.com as well as re-launching VH1 to the “celebreality” format that it is today.
Ms. Norman left MTV Networks as president to join OWN, a venture between Oprah and Discovery Communications, which is speculated to launch sometime in early 2010. Norman told The Hollywood Reporter, “…we’ve got to expand the notion of what it means to live a life with purpose, which includes humor, which includes talk shows, which includes all sorts of non-scripted things.” Between her and the rest of the OWN team which includes other veterans like Jamila Hunter and Robert Tercek, amazing programming and features are certainly in the works.
Christina Norman’s industry accolades include being named in The Hollywood Reporter’s “Power 100 Women in Entertainment,” Multichannel News’ “Wonder Women,” Crain’s New York’s Top 40 Under 40 , and featured in Advertising Age’s “Media Mavens” issue. As if running a groundbreaking network is not enough, she still has found time to serve on the boards of Mount Sinai Adolescent Health Center and the BRIC Arts Media Brooklyn. In one of the most complementary farewell announcements ever, Van Toffler of MTV said, “Christina’s mark on our company is indelible and it’s worth noting that she reinvented herself and our businesses along the way.” We are waiting anxiously for what she has in store for us at OWN.