Layoffs and Restructing for Oprah’s Struggling ‘OWN’ Network

Poor ratings and financial struggles have led to layoffs at Oprah Winfrey’s OWN network. The network is cutting one-fifth of its workers in an effort to restructure the company, according to reports.

It’s been speculated that the channel, which has already cost its parent companies more than $300 million, could be in danger if things don’t improve soon.

In a statement Oprah explained the reason for the layoffs.

“It is difficult to make tough business decisions that affect people’s lives,” said Oprah 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.”

Part of the restructuring will include re-assigning duties to others within the network and its venture partners, Discovery Communications and Winfrey’s Harpo Studios. Neal Kirsch, Discovery’s chief financial officer of its U.S. Metworks unit, will now become the network’s chief operating officer and chief financial officer.

OWN’s highest ratings to date came two-weeks ago when over 3.5 million viewers tuned in to see Oprah interview Whitney Houston’s daughter, Bobbi Kristina. The achievement was short lived as the channel announced it was cancelling Rosie O’Donnell’s talk show.