- The Washington Times - Monday, August 27, 2007

Eileen O’Neill is a student of pop culture — literally.

She received a bachelor of arts degree in pop culture in 1990 from Bowling Green State University in Ohio.

Her degree will come in handy as she prepares to roll out the Discovery Channel‘s trendiest network, “Planet Green.”

The network, set to debut early next year, will provide programming that shows viewers how they can reduce their environmental impact on the Earth.

As the new president and general manager of Planet Green, Ms. O’Neill hopes the new network will make a difference in the way we live our lives.

“We have a vitally important issue of climate change that needs to be addressed,” she said.

“The world and our society has been focusing on green living for the past 18 months, and we’re hoping to use this platform to focus on green media.”

So what exactly is “green media?”

Ms. O’Neill said the network will provide information on how people can live harmoniously with the planet.

“We’ll feature shows that emphasize green homes, architecture, food, cars, new inventions and science,” she said. “It’s kind of like Home and Garden meets Bravo.”

“The reason this network needs to exist is that there is a real problem with climate change,” Ms. O’Neill said. “And we can help people make changes in their lives that will help change the world.”

Scientists do not agree on the causes of climate change, however, and some of them have rejected popular global-warming theories.

Ms. O’Neill has been working for Discovery Networks for 17 years, starting as an unpaid intern in Discovery’s tape library.

“It was great to start with a program operations role,” she said. “I got to understand what it takes to get a show on air.”

From the tape library, Ms. O’Neill worked her way up, taking positions both in the creative side and business side of the company.

Ms. O’Neill was most recently general manager of the Discovery Health Channel and FitTV, where she oversaw programming and developed production strategies for both networks.

Discovery Communications Inc., a Silver Spring-based cable network, reaches more than 170 countries through several networks including the Learning Channel, Animal Planet and the Travel Channel.

“In my current job I get to combine the creative aspects of the job with the business of the job,” Ms. O’Neill said. “And that’s both exciting and challenging.”

Her daily duties include mediating with the talent, producers, agents, attorneys and finance department.

David Zasiav, president and chief executive officer of Discovery Communications, predicted that she will do a great job with the new network.

“Eileen is one of our strongest leaders at Discovery,” he said. “She is a consummate professional with great vision and a wonderful working style.”

Ms. O’Neill lives in Columbia, Md.

Bryce Baschuk

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