OWN network cuts one-fifth of its staff

March 20, 2012

Oprah Winfrey's television network, OWN, has announced it is laying off one-fifth of its workers. The television network has seen its share of struggles since it launched in January of last year. Rosie O'Donnell is scheduled to tape her final show today in Chicago after it was cancelled last week. The network announced Monday it was laying off 30 workers and restructuring operations in New York and Los Angeles.
 
"As we started to have some more ratings momentum, and the ratings started improving, we needed to address our cost structure so we could actually have the business be incredibly profitable moving forward into the future and having a place that would continue this momentum," said Erik Jacobs, co-president of HARPO and OWN networks.
 
Winfrey, CEO and chief creative officer of the network, responded to the decision in a statement Monday.
 
"It is difficult to make tough business decisions that affect people’s lives," she said. "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."
 
The recent lay-offs don't include the 40 or so Chicago jobs that will be lost from the cancellation of The Rosie Show. The show, which will air it's final episode on March 30th, filmed in HARPO studios in Chicago's West Loop.
 
Jacob says the space will continue to produce content for the OWN network. He estimates around 70 hours of television will be produced each week. The studio will also be home to a new OWN show, featuring Iyanla Vanzant. Production has yet to be scheduled for her show.