Oprah cable network OWN lays off 30 people in LA and New York

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Oprah Winfrey with Gayle King (L) and Stedman Graham (C) attend the Allen & Company Sun Valley Conference.

Oprah’s next chapter will be written... just with a few fewer people.

Ever since it launched a little more than a year ago, the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) has struggled to find an audience.

OWN never came close to the numbers generated by Winfrey’s syndicated talk show, and the network barely matched the ratings of the cable channel it replaced.

OWN has also had personnel problems, as seen by the cancellation Rosie O’Donnell’s talk show just last week.

Now Winfrey says she’s made the tough decision to lay off one-fifth of the total staff, for the company’s long-term health.

Executives from Discovery Communications will take a larger role in running the company. Discovery put up $250 million to get the network started, back in January 2011.

OWN has had one significant success: an exclusive interview with Whitney Houston’s daughter drew 3.5 million viewers. OWN says that, overall, ratings are rising.

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