OWN an­nounces lay­offs, re­struc­tur­ing

The Washington Times Daily - - Television -

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

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