Welcome to the Smart Set: Oprah's OWN network axes one-fifth of staff, the coverage of Malia Obama's spring break trip to Mexico appeared and disappeared, and Gwyneth Paltrow insists she wrote her cookbook all by herself.
Oprah Winfrey's OWN cable network cut loose 30 staffers on Monday, roughly one-fifth of its workforce. In addition to the layoffs, the network also "restructured its network operations in Los Angeles and New York," and added Neal Kirsch, a longtime Discovery executive, to upper management. He'll now serve as chief operating officer and chief financial officer at OWN and report to Sheri Salata and Erik Logan, who Oprah named as presidents during the last OWN reshuffling just eight months ago. Monday's news followed the announcement Friday that OWN had cancelled Rosie O'Donnell's The Rosie Show after six months, multiple format changes, and backstage drama between O'Donnell and her production team. When The Daily Beast asked a former Rosie Show staffer for an assessment of what it was like to work on the show, the unnamed staffer was blunt: "It was a f------ hellhole." [The Washington Post and The Daily Beast]
The AFP ran with a story Monday mentioning that Malia Obama was "vacationing in Oaxaca, Mexico, along with a number of friends and 25 Secret Service agents." Completely inoffensive, but also kind of tacit violation of the media- politician "My kids have the right to a private life when they're doing things out in the public eye" bargain. The story of Malia's spring break was promptly "picked up by Yahoo, the Huffington Post, and the International Business Times, as well as UK publications like the Daily Mail and the Telegraph." By Monday evening, the majority of those stories were down. The original AFP story "links to a story titled 'Senegal music star Youssou Ndour hits campaign trail,' as does the Yahoo page," while The Huffington Post page "links directly back to the Huffington Post homepage." As for The Daily Mail, Telegraph, and The Australian, those stories "now lead to 404 error pages, reading 'page not found." A version of the International Business Times story on the spring fling can be found here. The Obama White House and reps from the various news agencies have yet to respond for comment about what prompted the potential beach week spiking. [Politico]