The Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) laid off 30 employees in Los Angeles and New York Monday as the network faces another round of restructuring. This time around, the suits from Discovery Communications are coming in to help oversee operations.
The Los Angeles Times has the details:
The move comes as OWN continues to struggle to find its voice. Launched in January 2011, OWN has already cost Discovery more than $300 million. The channel’s performance has been so weak that there has even been speculation, denied by insiders at the network’s parent companies, that if the situation doesn’t improve soon the plug could be pulled.
“We’re as committed now as we’ve ever been and are bullish about the long-term value we are building,” Discovery Senior Executive Vice President David Leavy said Monday.
“It is difficult to make tough business decisions that affect people’s lives,” said OWN Chief Executive Winfrey in a statement. “The economics of a start-up cable network just don’t work with the cost structure that was in place,” she said, adding, “to wholly achieve that long-term success, this was a necessary next step.” Winfrey was at OWN’s Los Angeles headquarters Monday to address the staff about the changes.
As part of the restructuring, Discovery Communications will have more say in the business operations. Initially, Discovery had something of an arms-length policy when it came to OWN.
Discovery chief financial officer Neal Kirsch is moving over to OWN as the new chief financial officer and chief operating officer. Fellow Discovery executive Lee Bartlett will work with OWN vice president Tina Perry in the oversight of business and legal affairs.
OWN made news last week following the cancelation of Rosie O’Donnell’s primetime talk show after only five months.
People, it’s time to admit that Oprah Winfrey isn’t perfect. If the network survives the rest of this year, I would be shocked.
Time to bring back The Oprah Winfrey Show as a last-ditched effort to save her network?