November 9, 2011 / 3:31 PM / in 6 years

UPDATE 1-Discovery COO Ligouri to leave by year-end

* COO post will eliminated

* Discovery joint ventures have had shaky starts

* Shares down 4.5 percent

NEW YORK, Nov 9 (Reuters) - Peter Ligouri, the executive charged with setting up Discovery Communications’ joint venture networks is stepping down after two years in his role as chief operating officer by end of the year.

Ligouri, a former president of entertainment at News Corp’s Fox Broadcasting, will not be replaced as the company is eliminating the COO role. He leaves after overseeing the launches of the three joint venture networks in the last year.

Discovery’s strategy to relaunch cable networks with partners has had shaky results so far.

OWN network, the high-profile partnership with TV entertainment mogul Oprah Winfrey, has had a particularly troubled start. The fledgling network lost its president just weeks ahead of its January launch and Ligouri had to act as interim CEO till Winfrey herself took control in July.

The Hub, a joint venture with toymaker Hasbro , has also had limited rating success to date after it was relaunched in October as a replacement for Discovery Kids.

3net, a joint venture with Sony Corp and IMAX Corp , is dedicated to 3D programming and is also yet to make much of an impact in ratings terms.

Discovery shares were down 4.5 percent to $43.02, along with other media stocks, in early trading on Nasdaq.

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