Group President, Discovery, TLC and Discovery Fit & Health

Discovery Communications

Shark Week set record numbers in its 26th year, but O’Neill is also thrilled with viewer engagement in the live broadcast of “Skywire Live With Nik Wallenda.” That logistical and programming feat drew 13 million total viewers and generated nearly 40,000 tweets per minute. O’Neill enjoys her job. “Where else would I get a chance to torture myself and my staff, holding our breath as a guy walks across the Grand Canyon on a tightrope (I’m still recovering from that one… while planning the next one),” she says. “Where else would I be talking to moonshiners, gold miners, Honey Boo Boo and former presidential Chiefs of Staff in the same week?” OK. We have nothing to add there…

What’s your favorite part of your job?
I work in TV for a few networks that I love. How fun is that? Where else would I get a chance to torture myself and my staff holding our breath as a guy walks across the grand canyon on a tightrope (I’m still recovering from that one… while planning the next one); where else would I be talking to Moonshiners, Gold Miners, Honey Boo Boo and former presidential Chiefs of Staffs in the same week? And I work with a great group of people that love the craziness as much as I do.
 
What’s been the biggest story in cable this year?
I think this is the year that cable truly evened the playing field—for us it was the huge success of our live Wallenda event that got record numbers on air, online and on twitter; and with the scripted shows like “Breaking Bad” and “The Walking Dead” that are getting great numbers to go with the critical acclaim.
 
How do you define success in the workplace?
To me success in the workplace is all about growth—growing your own skill set, growing your talent… and of course, this is TV—growing your numbers.
 
Best trick for maintaining the personal-professional life balance?
Not sure I am a magician on this front…
 
Who would you want to swap jobs with for a month and why?
Bill Belichick. I live and die for the Patriots—they are my other favorite team.

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