Oprah Winfrey lays off one-fifth of TV network’s staff

Washington: Oprah Winfrey’s television network, OWN, which is reportedly struggling at the moment, announced on Monday that it is laying off 30 employees and restructuring its operations in New York and Los Angeles.

Winfrey said in a statement that it was a “tough” decision but the economics of a start-up cable network didn’t fit with OWN’s cost structure.

“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,” Fox News quoted Winfrey as saying.

According to OWN, the responsibilities of the laid-off workers will be distributed among people with the network and its venture partners, Discovery Communications and Winfrey’s Harpo Studios.

The cable channel, which was launched on January 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 dollars and counting.

Discovery executives will take a more active role in the channel, according to the announcement.

Neal Kirsch, chief financial officer of Discovery’s US networks, will move in as OWN’s chief financial officer and chief operating officer, reporting to OWN presidents Erik Logan and Sheri Salata.

Another Discovery executive, Lee Bartlett, will have joint oversight of business and legal affairs with an OWN vice president, Tina Perry.