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Warner Bros Discovery Cuts Four Top OWN Execs (EXCLUSIVE)

Warner Bros. Variety exclusively learned that Discovery has fired four of its top executives at Oprah Winfrey Network, including Karen Grant Selma, and Jennifer Giddens. Grant-Selma is the general counsel of the network and Giddens is, the chief marketing officer.

Nicole Nichols is also leaving her position at OWN as executive vice president of communication. She is also the communication director for Harpo Productions (Winfrey’s production company) and serves as Winfrey’s personal representative. She will now be able to focus full-time on these roles.

MaryBeth Cunin is OWN’s head of programming, and scheduling, and is also on her way.

This news is the latest in a long line of high-profile departures since David Zaslav assumed control of WBD’s CEO post-merger. The Warner Bros. side has seen the most notable departures — Ann Sarnoff, WarnerMedia CEO, and Johanna Fuentes global communications head, to name just a few — while OWN, which is a Discovery property, has been the source of many others.

Winfrey founded the network in 2008, with Discovery and Harpo each holding 50%. Discovery increased its ownership over time to just under 95% by 2020.

After having served as vice president of legal and business affairs at Universal Pictures, Live Nation Entertainment, and DreamWorks Animation, Grant Selma joined OWN. Giddens joined OWN as a vice president of business and legal affairs at Universal Pictures, then Live Nation Entertainment, then DreamWorks Animation in 2019. She was previously the senior vice president for marketing and digital at Universal Kids and later the head of creative marketing for Netflix’s children and families department. Cunin began her OWN career in 2013 as a deputy president of programming, and scheduling, and was promoted to her current senior position in 2016. Cunin was previously vice president, then senior vice-president of programming, strategy, and acquisitions at CMT.

Nichols joined OWN in 2008 as senior vice president of communications and strategy. Before joining Winfrey, Nichols was the senior vice president of entertainment communications at Disney/ABC Television Group. She was responsible for the strategic communications efforts of five business units within the television group: ABC Entertainment, ABC Daytime, ABC Studios, ABC Family, and SOAPnet. After Fox Family’s acquisition, she was Vice President of Corporate Communications and Publicity at ABC Family from 2002 to 2005.

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