In a cost saving move to help the financial situation of her struggling network, powerhouse mogul and former talk show host Oprah Winfrey has made the decision to lay off more than 30 employees from her OWN cable channel.
Winfrey, who left her highly successful talk show last year to devote all of her time to running the burgeoning channel, has struggled to bring in viewers to the network. Last week, it was announced that the network was cancelling the ratings-deprived Rosie O'Donnell talk show after only six months, in an effort to slash costs. Winfrey had hand-picked the former Queen of Nice O'Donnell to replace her own show, allowing O'Donnell to film in her vacated Harpo Studios in Chicago. While O'Donnell's show initially started off with decent ratings, viewership continued to plunge lower and lower on a weekly basis, forcing Oprah to make the difficult decision to axe the show, saving a reported $25 million per month in costs.
Winfrey reportedly didn't play favorites with her firings, letting go people who had been with her on her talk show for decades. In an official statement, she stated: "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.”
Executives from Discovery Communications, which co-owns the channel with Winfrey after investing hundreds of millions of dollars, will now be taking a more active role in the channel after the current restructuring.