Pop Culture alumna to lead Discovery Channel and TLC

Eileen O'Neill

 

BOWLING GREEN, O.—Eileen O’Neill, a graduate of Bowling Green State University, has been promoted to lead the two flagship networks at Discovery Communications, the network has announced.

O'Neill is Group President for Discovery Channel and The Learning Channel (TLC), two of the most popular channels on cable. In her new role, she will supervise general managers for each network in the Discovery family.

In her most recent role as president and general manager for TLC, she helped the network introduce such reality series as “Say Yes to the Dress,” “Cake Boss,” and “19 Kids and Counting.” She is also credited as the original developer of “Jon & Kate Plus 8,” a reality series that follows the life of Jon and Kate Gosselin as they raise sextuplets and twins. The program set new cable rating records in 2009.

Other achievements during her career at Discovery Communications including launching Planet Green, the first and only eco-lifestyle network, while serving as the network’s president and general manager, leading Discovery Health Channel as executive vice president and general manager, and serving as director of scheduling for the Travel Channel.

Her career with Discovery started as an unpaid intern as a student at Bowling Green State University. She created a programming library during the internship, and was hired immediately with diploma in hand.

In 2010, BGSU selected O’Neill as one of its 100 most prominent alumni.

During a visit to campus, she surprised President Carol Cartwright with a major gift to establish an endowment on behalf of herself and her partner, Karen Stoddard. Their donation of $100,000 will establish “The Stoddard and O’Neill Endowment for Studies in Popular Culture,” and their additional gift of $10,000 will be used to further support the department. Both women earned master’s degrees in popular culture from BGSU.

“There’s a direct correlation between BGSU and my job at Discovery,” O’Neill said in presenting her gift. “The popular culture studies program, just as a broad-based discipline, allowed me to explore interests and what I liked and didn’t like. I can’t say enough about the program. This donation will allow students and faculty to further explore their interests.”

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(Posted January 19, 2011 )