OWN announces layoffs, restructuring
Oprah Winfrey’s struggling television network, OWN, said Monday it is laying off one-fifth of its workers and restructuring its operations in New York and Los Angeles.
The decision to let 30 employees go is a “tough” one, but the economics of a startup cable network didn’t fit with OWN’S cost structure, Miss Winfrey said in a statement.
“As CEO, I have a responsibility to chart the course for long-term success for the network. To wholly achieve that long-term success, this was a necessary next step,” Miss Winfrey said.
The responsibilities of the laid-off workers will be distributed among people with the network and its venture partners, Discovery Communications and Miss Winfrey’s Harpo Studios, according to OWN.
The cable channel, which launched Jan. 1, 2011, endured a freshman year of executive turnover and missteps that proved OWN lacked a solid foundation on which to build. This was despite a Discovery Communications investment of a reported $250 million and counting.
Discovery executives will take a more active role in the channel, according to the announcement.
OWN started as an ambitious new platform for Miss Winfrey after she stepped away from her long-running, top-rated daytime talk show, “The Oprah Winfrey Show.” But viewership for OWN shows has been largely unimpressive, with one example being a short-lived Rosie O’donnell talk