Oprah Winfrey's cable channel unveiled a management shake-up on Monday, eliminating 30 jobs, as it looks to cut costs and speed its path toward profitability.
While the channel has only been on the air since the start of 2011, it has had a tumultuous time with numerous management changes and weak ratings. Eight months ago, Winfrey took over as chief executive and chief creative officer of the channel. In January, she launched her own show, "Oprah's Next Chapter," and ratings have since climbed.
Known as OWN: Oprah Winfrey network, the channel is jointly owned by Winfrey and Discovery Communications Inc. In a statement, the network said it was restructuring its operations in Los Angeles and New York, redistributing responsibilities between the network, Discovery and Winfrey's Harpo Studios.
As a result of the changes, some executives from the parent companies are joining OWN, and some functions are being outsourced to the parents, at least in part. The chief financial officer of Discovery's U.S. networks is moving to OWN as chief operating officer and chief financial officer, OWN said. Discovery will now have at least some responsibility for OWN marketing, human resources, business affairs and advertising sales, a person familiar with the matter said.
The restructuring comes a few days after OWN canceled "The Rosie Show," the daily talk show hosted by Rosie O'Donnell that launched in October but struggled to find an audience.
Both the cancellation and the management shake-up were intended to cut costs at the network. Discovery, which is financing OWN's operations, had invested $312 million as of Dec. 31. That was up from $254 million at Sept. 30, although the person familiar with the matter said the expenses vary widely by quarter because of the timing of TV shows.
In a statement, Winfrey said, "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."
The restructuring will cut OWN's head count by about 30 people, bringing it down to about 120 people, leaving out the staffing of Oprah.com. That is a savings of about $20 million over the next two years, a person close to the network said. That comes on top of savings from canceling O'Donnell's talk show, for which the network will have to pay only roughly $15 million of the $40 million, two- year contract, the person added.
OWN Co-President Erik Logan, brought in from Harpo when Winfrey became CEO, said the changes reflected Winfrey's influence: "Oprah is in the sauce with us every day. The difference comes down to the fact that she is more heavily involved."
This story originally appeared on WSJ.com.