OWN restructures, cuts 30 jobs

Staff at Discovery Communications and Harpo Studios will absorb responsibilities for the lost positions, with Neal Kirsch, CFO of Discovery's U.S. networks, moving to OWN as chief operating officer and chief financial officer.
March 20, 2012

U.S. network OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network is restructuring its network operations in Los Angeles and New York, in a move that will see the loss of 30 positions.

The responsibilities for those roles will be redistributed among the network and venture partners, Discovery Communications and Harpo Studios.

As part of the restructure, Neal Kirsch, CFO of Discovery’s U.S. networks, will be moving to OWN in the role of chief operating officer and chief financial officer, reporting directly to joint presidents Erik Logan and Sheri Salata.

“It is difficult to make tough business decisions that affect people’s lives,” said Oprah Winfrey, OWN’s CEO and chief creative officer, in a statement, “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.”

In additional changes, Tina Perry, OWN’s VP of business and legal affairs, will now oversee the department and partner with Discovery’s Lee Bartlett, executive vice president of global production management, business and legal affairs.

Meanwhile, Michelle Holt, OWN’s VP of production, will now oversee production management; and Ian Parmiter, senior VP of marketing at Discovery Ad Sales, will oversee integrated marketing for OWN.

The news comes after OWN announced last Friday that it would be cancelling The Rosie Show, which has struggled with ratings.

About The Author
Barry Walsh is editor and content director for realscreen, and has served as editor of the publication since 2009. With a career in entertainment media that spans two decades, prior to realscreen, he held the associate editor post for now defunct sister publication Boards, which focused on the advertising and commercial production industries. Before Boards, he served as editor of Canadian Music Network, a weekly music industry trade, and as music editor for As content director, he also oversees the development of content for the brand's market-leading events, the Realscreen Summit and Realscreen West, as well as new content initiatives.