Eileen O’Neill

Global Group President
Discovery Studios

Photo of Eileen O’Neill

In August 2014, Eileen O’Neill was named to the newly created position of Global Group President, Discovery Studios, which she will assume in March 2015.  

Formerly the Group President of Discovery Channel, Science and Velocity Networks, O’Neill oversaw the strategic direction at the three networks including development, programming, production, digital media, marketing, research and communications. She interfaced with ad and affiliate sales to further increase the value of the brands and created a unique environment for advertisers, operators and viewers. Prior this role, O’Neill was the Group President for Discovery Channel, TLC and Discovery Fit & Health. 

O’Neill’s proven track record for success makes her the ideal candidate for her new role. In her first year leading Discovery Channel in 2011, the network had its best year ever for men 25-54*. Discovery had several new hit series in 2011, including FAST N’ LOUD 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.

Throughout her time at Discovery, O’Neill has contributed to the success of live events and specials including AMERICAN CHOPPER LIVE and KILLING BIN LADEN. In addition, 2011 also marked the launch of CURIOSITY, a landmark multi-platform series that aims to answer the most fundamental questions facing the world today.

In 2013, O’Neill expanded her live events portfolio to include SKYWIRE LIVE WITH NIK WALLENDA. With 13 million viewers tuning in to watch the walk, the Grand Canyon crossing marked Discovery’s highest-rated live event ever in all key demos, and was the network’s top-rated special in 13 years. That same year, O’Neill was instrumental in the 2013 launch of the wildly successful new series NAKED AND AFRAID. 

More recently, in 2014, O’Neill oversaw Discovery’s first venture into the scripted world with the critically acclaimed mini-series KLONDIKE and played a key part in making the 27th anniversary of the fan-favorite SHARK WEEK the network’s highest-rated week ever in its history among W18-49 drawing in over 42 million viewers (P2+ cume)****. 

Back in 2008, after joining the TLC team, O’Neill nurtured the development of a bi-coastal team dedicated to creating authentic non-scripted programming. Most recently, she oversaw the groundbreaking series ALL-AMERICAN MUSLIM. In addition, under her leadership the network saw the launches of: 19 KIDS AND COUNTING, THE LITTLE COUPLE, EXTREME COUPONING, NY INK, FOUR WEDDINGS, LONG ISLAND MEDIUM, SISTER WIVES and ROYAL WEDDING, simulcast live as TLC took over New York City's Times Square to celebrate Prince William and Kate Middleton's wedding.

In 2010, SARAH PALIN’S ALASKAwas 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.

O’Neill has received several honors, including: Hollywood Reporter’s 2013 Power 100 Women in Entertainment (listed at #15), 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 her work at TLC, O’Neill served as President of Planet Green, launching the first-ever 24-hour television network dedicated solely to green lifestyle programming along with developing GREENSBURG, a 13-part series executive produced by Leonardo DiCaprio. 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 included, 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. 

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