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Oprah Winfrey Lays Off 30 Employees as part of OWN's Restructuring!

Courtesy/HarpoProds

Courtesy/HarpoProds

Ratings-challenged OWN (Oprah Winfrey Network) let go of 30 employees yesterday as part of a restructuring.  “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,” said OWN chief executive Oprah Winfrey, who was in the network’s mid-Wilshire offices Monday afternoon. “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.”

In a bid to improve what had become a dark spot in Discovery Communications’ otherwise strong portfolio, Winfrey took over as chief executive eight months ago. At that time, longtime Harpo leaders Erik Logan and Shari Salata were tapped as presidents of OWN. Added Logan, “We have been on the air for 15 months, and since September we have gained momentum in ratings and viewership. Restructuring our business will allow us to build a solid foundation for long-term growth.”

According to the Hollywood Reporter,   “the reconfiguration of OWN’s operations in Los Angeles and New York will see the responsibilities of those exiting staffers redistributed among the network and venture partners Discovery and Harpo Studios. ”  After the latest round of cuts, about 90 people remain on the OWN payroll, down from 150 employees at its peak.  With ratings continuing to average lower than what Discovery Health – the low-cost network OWN replaced in January 2011–earned, “no one was particularly surprised,” about the layoffs, an OWN insider revealed.

Rosie O’ Donnell’s talk show was also canned by OWN last week because of very sluggish ratings.
So what has gone wrong with OWN?  I am sure many of you can count the ways.  What would you like to see as programming on Oprah’s network knowing that she thus far has not been interested in the soaps, as she feels it does not fit her format?  Let us know.

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Elhu
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Elhu

With the network’s poor performance thus far, Oprah may want to reconsider the “format” she feels “fits” OWN, and take a chance on the soaps. With her recent high profile Sunday evening interviews, I am sure more people now know where OWN is on their cable stations, but I think it will take a lot more than that to pick up the needed ratings. I say bring on the soaps, and boy will there be many happy new viewers.

Sheryl
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Sheryl

I think Oprah is looking out not putting the soaps on her network because it doesn’t fit in is that she isn’t seeing it from a fans point of view. Even thought some of the stories are not real life , there are still some stories that are definitely like real life . Just like her helping people to solve their problems. She is entertainingj just like the actors and actress on a soap. She helps people and the soaps also, help people. So why doesn’t she see that the both shows can help people. That is what she wants… Read more »

Susan M.
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Susan M.

No I’m sorry I don’t find her entertaining at all…She doesn’t compare like the actors or actress on a soap………….Again Im sorry I don’t agree……….She is not a professional in solving problems.She isn’t a dr. She doesn’t have a PHD…It just her own opinion nothing more.. Take her advice with discernment.. Yes she does help people I’ll give you that…But there are professionals out there to solve problems…..I would perfer to ask a professional for advice in solving problems over Oprah any day… I don’t think she is the right person to solve personel private problems… That’s all…….

Iakovos
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Iakovos

I think a more traditional approach to programming would help. Acquire something exclusive in the rerun department (not GOLDEN GIRLS, FRASIER, BIG BANG or RAYMOND!) that has some special appeal… acquire something unique lost on other webs (say cancelled daytime dramas)… avoid the trap of making it all about one personality (say the CEO)… steer clear of lame reality shows (avoid the Oxygen model)… work to get better exposure on cable systems…

Tali
Guest
Tali

30 employees…..maybe they’ll find a car under the envelope of their last paycheck. I will never forgive Oprahs uncharitable remarks about the soaps. She could have guaranteed herself a multigenerational audience, instead, she kicked us under the very same curb her 30 employees are now sitting on .

Daisy
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Daisy

Maybe if Miss Oprah had gotten down off her high horse and put AMC and OLTL on her network instead of shows that stink, she might have some viewers.

Susan M.
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Susan M.

I agree with this comment 100%. On 3/20 at 12:57 pm..

Christine
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Christine

This was predicted when Martha Stewart’s show was canceled by Hallmark.

That being said, what comes around, goes around, Oprah, Disney, et al.

By the way, did anyone hear that Disney lost 200 million on John Carter. Perhaps we soap fans ARE sticking together and boycotting after all.

1loveabcsoaps
Guest
1loveabcsoaps

Everyone one has their ups and downs in life, and Oprah is no different. If it wasn’t this, it would of been something else. It’s just a reminder to us that she too, is human. Every business has it’s challenges, the first year of business, and once again, Oprah is no different. Therefore there is no need for the Oprah bashing, “she should have picked up the soaps “, and the recanting of that noise. She has earned the right to make her own dicisions rather we agree with it or not. She has come through for people in life… Read more »

Robert in Jersey City
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Robert in Jersey City

“She has done so much good for people and the world that only a selfish, narrow minded, subjective type would hold such trivia against her.”

Whatever, how much did she pay you to post this?

Susan M.
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Susan M.

Do you believe everything Oprah says & does? Do you think she should give people advice on their disturbing problems????????? Do you think she is alway’s right???Yes she does ggod things such as helping people…That’s great… But, is she the authority on evety single subject????????? And I’m not talking about her deceision about the soaps!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Would you go to Oprah or a professional doctor for personal disturbing problems?????????Her advice isn’t alway’s the right advice…Could do more harm than good….You should alway’s listen with discernment…She is not a professinal advice giver.. That’s all I have to say on this matter………………..

1loveabcsoaps
Guest
1loveabcsoaps

Rather I believe or not isn’t the subject that is being discussed, bc WHO believes every word anyone says? No one. Before she declined on picking up the soaps, there seem to be no complaints from soaps fans (whom said they made her) about all her advice giving. Now she’s not doing what “we” want her to do, there is plenty of fault finding by many, when there was nothing but love for her before. That’s like a child throwing a temper tandrum when he doesn’t get his way, and I don’t find it very mature. I may not agree… Read more »

Susan M.
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Susan M.

Thanks for your opinion….But this goes way before .. about 2years ago… Way before her deceision about the soaps I was talking about…Go on her site about her New Age Releigion stuff…Thats were my friends and I have a problem with her………That’s when we stop watching her show on abc…We feel she is sticking her nose in where it doesn’t belong…She doesn’t know what she is talking about when it comes to this particular subject…This what I mean that she shouldn’t give people advice on…We use to be fans…She is a good person…..But on this subject my friends and I… Read more »

Susan M.
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Susan M.

She should stick to subjects she is more familiar with………..Thats it.. On to other things: watched GH yesterday , like seeing Rick Springfield, Michael Easton, ETC…………

Robert in Jersey City
Guest
Robert in Jersey City

SWALLOW YOUR PRIDE, OPES, AND PICK UP A SOAP. JUST LIKE NICKELODEON DOES HOT IN CLEVELAND. BRING ALL THE ACTORS BACK AND PRODUCE IT IN NYC. You can even name it after yourself, we don’t care. You’ll be a hero.

Redemption, honey. Redemption shall be yours. Promise.

Susan M.
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Susan M.

I agree with the guy from Jersey City……..

Brenda
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Brenda

I second that.

Debi
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Debi

Haha. She should have taken the soaps when they were offered to her.
That is all I have to say on this subject.

Brian
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Brian

Hey… I know a wonderful show that was averaging 2.5 million plus viewers, 5 days a week… “ONE LIFE TO LIVE” !!!

Yet no network seems to want it.

Susan M.
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Susan M.

They just want to put on silly dopey shows…Instead of a claas show like OLTL..

Lew
Guest
Lew

I don’t watch her network and have no suggestions. Interesting, but about a year ago, we were reaching out to her to help save AMC & OLTL and she couldn’t be bothered. Payback is a bitch and she has been slapped!!! All the best to Ms. Winfrey!

Heidi
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Heidi

She should have welcomed ABC’s cancelled soaps. Karma.

susan m.
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susan m.

Quote : The soaps do not fit the own channel format (HMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM) What is doing now isn’t doing well at all…. I am not interested in any of the programs she puts on her own channel….I looked at what was on her channel one day & there was nothing of interest what so ever.. Not my cup of tea!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I wonder why her channel is BOMBING????????? Not putting on the right sort of programs viewers would be interested in…Not interested in watching her friend Gail on her cable channel… As i said there is nothing of interest to watch.. Don’t… Read more »

Linda
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Linda

Oprah made a huge mistake saying no to AMC & OLTL. Just think what an additional 2.5 million viewers each day would have done for her network. Since she said no to the soap fans I don’t care what she airs. I won’t watch OWN.

susan m.
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susan m.

Read an article on her site and it sais: stay tuned Oprah is about to stage a TCA press tour and face a roomful of critics….. It said her show has had a deep decline in the ratings. Rival channels like Oxygen , WE mostly close the gap(with lifetime remaining in front)………………. I know what could solve this problem “The Soaps.” But it will not happen…But could sure solve her ratings problem on her OWN CHANNEL………

Tom
Guest
Tom

At this point, a test pattern would get better ratings than OWN. If she laid out some of her billions for reruns of, say, SANTA BARBARA or ANOTHER WORLD she’d at least get to the one-million viewer mark.

Heather
Guest
Heather

I’m sorry but I’m with 1loveabcsoaps on that one. I’m not going to take part of the Oprah-bashing on this website. It is not Oprah’s responsability to pick up ABC’s discarded soaps. And nothing proves that the soaps would have succedeed on her network anyway. Oprah is a wonderful woman and it’s her right to not wanting soaps that were cancelled by another network. If people wants to make fun of her because of her decision, then so be it. But I won’t be part of it. And in case you guys didn’t know, ALL cable networks (not just OWN)… Read more »

1loveabcsoaps
Guest
1loveabcsoaps

@ Heather : ” And in case you guys didn’t know, ALL cable networks (not just OWN) refused to pick up the soaps when Prospect Park was shopping them. ”

Yes, all the cable networks that ” they ” are supporting, and have no qualms with.
Thanks for pointing that out!

1loveabcsoaps
Guest
1loveabcsoaps

Heather: Can you please answer this? This landed in my email as a response to you’re post.

” Boo HOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Where did you read that ?????????? Sounds like you didn’t want the soaps to suceed on another cable channel….Where did you get the info on that???? Never read anything about that……”

Heather
Guest
Heather

Hi 1loveabcsoaps

It was reported by Deadline that Propsect Park couldn’t find a buyer.

http://www.deadline.com/2011/11/on-the-brink-prospect-park-may-be-forced-to-pull-the-plug-on-oltl-amc/

And I don’t care if some OLTL fanatics wants to believe that I didn’t want the soaps to suceed on a cable channel. Let them believe what they want to believe. Unlike them, I go by the facts, not wishful thinking .

1loveabcsoaps
Guest
1loveabcsoaps

“Unlike them, I go by the facts, not wishful thinking . ” Heather: I know EXACTLY where you are coming from. This wishful thinking and making up their facts is the ‘most’ on here. I just can’t have a meeting of the minds with folk who think like this. If you’re not willing to look at the facts, than ” WHAT ” do have, wishing thinking! That is one of the reasons I enjoy your post, because U always have supporting evidence, and a objective thinking process. Thank you! See what FP posted for the Mar 21st post about Ron… Read more »

David Larsson
Guest
David Larsson

I feel that the problem is the lack of variety within the programing. Almost all the programs that air are reality shows about life.

PBS has strong ratings because it airs a variety of programming including comedies (Keeping Up Appearances), dramas (Downtown Abbey), news (PBS Newshour), documentaries (Prohibition), and reality programs (Antique Roadshow). If Oprah did something like that and added a bit more variety to her programming, she might be successful.

But as Carolyn Hinsey says, it’s only my opinion.

Jared
Guest
Jared

I don’t like Oprah Winfrey. Oh well, she likes herself enough for all of us.

gloria
Guest
gloria

Get the soaps! Have a “soap block” of time every day-from noon till 3 or 4, or anytime really-whether you revamp AMC & OLTL (I pray to God) and/or rerun shows like Santa Barbara, Another World, GL, ATWT, there should be many choices, people would love this! Oprah would be a hero. Knots Landing, Falconcrest-get some soaps going on OWN. Forget Dr. Phil reruns from 2008. And running the same shows over & over & over. Have a mix, soaps, talk, food, movies!

JLH
Guest
JLH

I can’t dispute that Oprah has done SO MUCH for SO MANY people–if it hadn’t been for her show, I never would have know about Debbie Ford, and Debbie’s first couple books were a life saver for me. That said, Oprah’s comments re: soaps really turned me off. I don’t blame her for not taking in AMC and/or OLTL, but I think she could have worded her rejection of the idea a bit better.

angela
Guest
angela

I don’t feel bad for Oprah. Sher got exactly what she deserves! She didn’t want to buy the rights to amc and oltl so alot of fans stayed away from her network. (I know I did) I don’t care how low she stoops to get ratings (ie; Boobie Kristina) she now ruins a tabloid network is how I feel. She turned her back on the MILLIONS of fans who made her. Does she really think she would have achevied the fame she did IF the soaps werent her lead in? I think not! She goes and hires Rosie O’Donnell! After… Read more »

Brenda
Guest
Brenda

Oprah forgot about the daytime fans who made her what she is today and rich too. The fans giveth and the fans taketh away. Sorry Oprah never watched your network.

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