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Massive Layoffs Hit Oprah Winfrey’s OWN

Call it The Next Chapter at OWN!

Oprah Winfrey‘s struggling network, OWN, is headed for some major restructuring. The network announced one-fifth, or 30 staffers based in New York and Los Angeles, are being laid off.

“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,” Winfrey said in a statement.

The channel launched on New Year’s Day 2011, aabout that time that Winfrey had her syndicated show swan song. One year later, her primetime talk show and signature program on the network, debuted.

On March 11, a 90-minute edition of Oprah’s Next Chapter featuring Whitney Houston‘s daughter, Bobbi Kristina and the Houston family, was the most-watched show on the upstart network with 3.5 million viewers.

But not everyone has found the Oprah magic.

Just last week, OWN pulled the plug on Rosie O’ Donnell‘s short-lived daytime show.

Discovery Communications will take a more hands-on role, according to the statement. For example, Neal Kirsch, chief financial officer of Discovery’s U.S. networks, will move to OWN as the chief financial officer and chief operating officer, reporting to OWN presidents Erik Logan and Sheri Salata.
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