Oprah-winfrey-harpo-lays-off-250-employees-getty-320.jpgOprah Winfrey‘s OWN cable channel has been struggling with ratings recently and has now been forced to fire 30 employees, one-fifth of its workforce. The station, which debuted Jan. 1, 2011, announced a restructuring of its network operations Monday (March 19), when Oprah said in a statement:

“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. 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.”

Erik Logan, President of OWN, adds, “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.”

One of the features that does draw viewers is “Oprah’s Next Chapter,” wherein Oprah interviews various celebrities and public figures, such as Bobbi Kristina Brown on March 11. But the former talk-show host has said she does not want to go back to a full-time hosting job.

In addition to the 30 employees fired, OWN has also canceled Rosie O’Donnell‘s talk show after just five months, which was announced last week.

Posted by:Andrea Reiher

TV critic by way of law school, Andrea Reiher enjoys everything from highbrow drama to clever comedy to the best reality TV has to offer. Her TV heroes include CJ Cregg, Spencer Hastings, Diane Lockhart, Juliet O'Hara and Buffy Summers. TV words to live by: "I'm a slayer, ask me how."