Oprah Winfrey’s struggling cable network, OWN, announced Monday that it is laying off a fifth of its employees as it restructures its operations.
The overhaul affects staffers in OWN’s Los Angeles and New York offices. In a statement Monday, the Queen of Talk called the decision a “tough” but necessary move due to the economics of a start-up cable network.
“It is difficult to make tough business decisions that affect people’s lives 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.”
News of the staff reductions comes on the heels of news that Rosie O’Donnell’s primetime OWN talk show was axed over the weekend after months of poor ratings.
OWN has, however, found revived viewership since the January premiere of Oprah’s Next Chapter, a weekly interview special featuring The O doing what she does best — chatting it up with other celebs. Winfrey’s exclusive March 11 interview with Bobbi Kristina Brown, the daughter of late songstress Whitney Houston, was the most-watched telecast in the network’s history.