Discovery, TLC and Discovery Fit & Health Networks
Eileen O'Neill oversees the strategic direction at Discovery Channel, TLC and Discovery Fit & Health including development, programming, production, digital media, marketing, research and communications. She interfaces with ad and affiliate sales to further increase the value of the brands and aims to create a unique environment for advertisers, operators and viewers.
In O'Neill's first year leading Discovery Channel, the network had its best year ever in 2011 for men 25-54*. Discovery had several new hit series in 2011, including Sons of Guns and Moonshiners. Premieres of the hit series Gold Rush were the #1 non-sports program in all of television on Fridays among men 25-54 and 18-49 delivery, beating out all broadcast and cable programs.
Long-running Discovery series also saw increased success, with Deadliest Catch the #1 primetime cable television show** on Tuesdays for sixteen straight weeks (throughout its entire season's run), Dual Survival the #1 ad-supported cable series on Fridays***, and American Chopper: Senior vs Junior garnering its highest rated telecasts since 2004.
Big specials like American Chopper Live, the May 2011 special Killing Bin Laden, and The Rising: Rebuilding Ground Zero, executive produced by Steven Spielberg, also pulled in big numbers for the network. 2011 also marked the 24th anniversary of Shark Week, which posted the best ratings/delivery among persons 18-34 in the event's history, and the launch of Curiosity, a landmark multi-platform series that aims to answer the most fundamental questions facing the world today.
Since joining TLC in 2008, O'Neill has nurtured the development of a bi-coastal team dedicated to creating authentic non-scripted programming. Most recently O'Neill oversaw the groundbreaking series All-American Muslim. In addition, under her leadership the network also saw the launches of: Extreme Couponing, NY Ink, Four Weddings, Long Island Medium, and Sister Wives.
In 2010 Sarah Palin's Alaska was the #1 program launch in TLC history among HH and P2+ delivery. The premiere delivered 4.96M total viewers. In addition, the June 22nd 2009 episode of Jon & Kate Plus 8 titled Houses and Big Changes garnered an audience of 10.6 million viewers, a new high for TLC, and a record breaker for all of ad-supported cable.
TLC continues to be a top 10 network for women. In 2011, TLC reached its highest delivery of women ages 25-54 since 2004. TLC was also one of Prime's top 10 ad-supported cable networks among all key women demos. Because of its compelling wedding programs, TLC was also Prime's #1 ad-supported cable network on Fridays for women between 18 and 49.
O'Neill has also received several honors, including: Hollywood Reporter's 2012 "Reality Power" list (listed at #11) and 2011 Power 100 Women in Entertainment (listed at 22); Vanity Fair – featured as an influential woman in cable; Elle Magazine – featured as a Hollywood power player; named "The Fixer" on the 2009 Cable Fax 100 (listed at 57); named by Multichannel News as a "Wonder Woman;" named as one of the 30 women on TV Week’s 2008 "Driving Force in Television" list; honored at her Alma Mater, Bowling Green State University at the centennial celebration as one of the 100 most prominent graduates.
Prior to TLC, O'Neill served as President of Planet Green, launching the first-ever 24-hour television network dedicated solely to green lifestyle programming. She also served as executive vice president and general manager of Discovery Health Channel and FitTV, overseeing the development and execution of programming and production strategies for both networks. Under her leadership, Discovery Health Channel saw record ratings in all day-parts, including the strongest delivery ever during August 2005. Top-rated shows developed under O'Neill include Mystery Diagnosis, Jon & Kate Plus 8 and Dr. G Medical Examiner.
O'Neill's commitment to producing "TV That Matters" – programming designed to educate, entertain and make an impact on viewers' lives – evidenced in the network's brand-extending annual initiatives. These include National Body Challenge, which in five years has helped Americans lose nearly 500 tons, and Birth Day Live! which has seen more than 90 babies born live on TV over four years. In addition, O'Neill made Discovery Health Channel an information resource to raise awareness about the importance of organ donation.
In 2004, O'Neill brought the first Discovery Health Channel Medical Honors to the nation's capital. This awards ceremony recognized national health and medical pioneers, placing an emphasis on the country's true heroes. Also, O'Neill introduced continuing medical education programming to the network, allowing medical professionals the opportunity to further their education through innovative and informative programming.
O'Neill, a 20-year Discovery veteran, previously served as director of scheduling for Travel Channel, which was acquired by Discovery Communications in 1997. Before that position, O'Neill served as Discovery Communications' director of business affairs, responsible for all contract negotiations concerning co-productions, commissioned programming and original work for Discovery Channel, TLC and Animal Planet. She served in this capacity for four years, working with such partners as the BBC, Warner Brothers and LMNO Productions.
O'Neill describes herself as "homegrown talent," having started at Discovery Communications as an unpaid intern while earning a graduate degree in popular culture from Bowling Green State University in Ohio. Having successfully developed a programming library that earned the respect of her professional mentors, she was hired by DCI's networks operation department immediately upon graduation.
Speaking at: In Conversation with: Eileen O'Neill