By Ronald Grover
March 19 Oprah Winfrey's Network, OWN, the
iconic talk show host's 15-month old cable network, has laid off
30 staffers after persistently poor ratings.
A talk show hosted by comedienne Rosie O'Donnell, for
example, was canceled after five months.
The cable network, owned jointly by Winfrey and Discovery
Communications, has had a hard time finding an
audience for most of its programming after being launched on
Jan. 2, 2011.
Discovery, which announced the layoffs in a regulatory
filing, said it provided $312 million to start and operate the
OWN, an amount that exceeded its $189 million commitment to the
joint venture. Some of those funds were borrowed by the venture,
the company also said.
"Early results of OWN's operations have been below its
initial business plan," Discovery added.
"The economics of a start-up cable network just don't work
with the cost structure that was in place," Winfrey said in a
statement. "As CEO, I have a responsibility to chart the course
for long-term success for the network."
The staffers that were laid off are located in New York and
Los Angeles, where the company has its production offices.