Oprah Winfrey lays off OWN employees

    Sluggish ratings of Oprah Winfrey’s network OWN have caused the media mogul to make a tough decision and cut 30 full-time employees. 

    OWN now employs approximately 90 people, which is significantly less than the 150 staffers employed when the network was at its peak.


“It is difficult to make tough business decisions that affect people’s lives,” Oprah, OWN’s CEO and chief creative officer said in a written statement Monday. “But the economics of a start-up cable network just don’t work with the cost structure that was in place. 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.”


OWN partnered with Discovery Communications Inc. and replaced the Discovery Health Channel in January 2011. Discovery Communications continues to support the OWN network and has plans to be more hands on. The Wall Street Journal reported that the layoffs will save the network approximately $20 million over the next two years.

    Among the lay-offs, “The Rosie O’Donnell Show” on the OWN network also got canned.  Just five months after its launch, the show struggled for acceptable ratings. Rosie’s rival, Donald Trump weighed in on Twitter after hearing about the show’s cancellation.  “Her ratings were abysmal … when will media executives learn that Rosie just hasn’t got it,” he tweeted. 

    But it’s not all gloomy for OWN. Since Oprah stepped in and took the reigns of CEO and Chief Creative Officer in July 2011, OWN has continued to make new strides in cable television. The show, “Oprah’s Next Chapter,” scored its highest ratings ever with its interview with the late Whitney Houston’s daughter, Bobbi Kristina.  Also, OWN’s breakout reality show “Welcome To Sweetie Pies,” has quite a following and returns for season 2 on March 31.

    —Kia Jefferson



    Could Oprah have saved those 30 full-time jobs she cut? What type of shows would you like to see on OWN?


    Here’s more:
    Oprah Winfrey to interview Bobbi Kristina




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