EXCLUSIVE: The revolving door at OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network continues. The latest high-level executive to depart the struggling cable network is SVP Business and Legal Affairs Alan Saxe, a well-respected executive who ran OWN’s business affairs department. In light of his departure (he reportedly left to pursue other opportunities), Tina Perry, VP Business and Legal Affairs, will lead the department as interim head. Saxe is the latest in a slew of executive departures at OWN, most recently EVP Production and Development Lisa Erspamer.
Meanwhile, OWN has been in cost-cutting mode after an yearlong struggle to break out in the ratings despite a marquee brand name and massive cash infusion from co-parent Discovery Communications. I hear the network’s executives have been told that the business in its current form is unsustainable and cuts have to be made, especially in the main Los Angeles office. Leading the charge in that area is new Discovery CFO Andy Warren, who has been examining OWN’s books. In one cost-cutting measure, OWN was recently asked to eliminate temp positions. The network has had a lot of essential positions, including assistants, filled by non-full-time employees, something that will now end. On Rosie O’Donnell‘s show, about 30 crew members were laid off when the show was scaled back to a smaller venue last month. That’s in addition to the 5-6 staffers who left with Page Hurwitz when she departed as executive producer in December.
Before joining OWN in 2009, Saxe served as SVP Business and Legal Affairs at Warner Horizon Television and EVP of Telepictures Prods. and EVP of Business and Legal Affairs at Warner Bros Domestic Television Distribution.