Yesterday Oprah made a chess move to try and help her struggling OWN TV network. The mogul laid off 20% of her employees in an attempt to restructure OWN’s operations in Los Angeles and New York. The slack will be picked up by the remaining employees and redistributed among remaining executives as well.
“It is difficult to make tough business decisions that affect people’s lives,” said Oprah Winfrey, OWN’s CEO and chief creative officer, “but the economics of a start-up cable network just doesn’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.”
Eight months back, Winfrey took over as chief executive in an attempt to improve OWN’s mediocre ratings. At that time, Oprah’s longtime partners Erik Logan and Shari Salata were the presidents of OWN. Added Logan, “We have been on the air for 15 months, and since September we have gained momentum in ratings and viewership. Restructuring our business will allow us to build a solid foundation for long-term growth.”
This news comes days after Oprah canned Rosie O’Donnell’s short-lived talk show. The show averaged fewer than 200,000 viewers on a daily basis.
More details to come on the revitalization of OWN in the future…