IN a humiliating power coup, OPRAH WINFREY has been stripped of executive powers at her struggling OWN network and now pals fear the worst is yet to come!
The media mogul was reduced to tears when her chief financial backer decided to curtail her control over the network she had worked her fingers to the bone to launch, say sources.
“Oprah’s situation is equivalent to Donald Trump telling one of his ‘Celebrity Apprentice’ contestants: ‘You’re fired!’” declared a TV insider.
As ratings sputtered and hundreds of millions of dollars spiraled down the drain, execs at Discovery Communications, which co-owns the Oprah Winfrey Network, made the strategic move in a desperate, eleventh-hour bid to save it.
While Oprah retains her title of CEO, it’s in name only, revealed the insider.
Oprah had exercised complete control over OWN since its launch in January 2011, and Discovery bigwigs supported her even as it turned into a financial disaster.
“They now realize that she was too inexperienced to run the network,” said the insider. “So she was stripped of her power. She’s no longer in a position to make executive decisions or hire staff without consulting top Discovery executives first.”
After getting the bombshell news in a closed-door meeting, Oprah “came out feeling as if the wind had been knocked out of her,” said the insider.
“For Oprah, this is a bitter personal failure and a devastating blow to her ego. The unexpected demotion has sent her into an emotional tailspin so severe that friends are deeply concerned for her. They fear it could trigger one of her drinking and eating binges.
As The ENQUIRER reported in our May 21 issue, Oprah has turned to alcohol more and more as OWN tanks, and she’s recently taken to doing shots of tequila!
She’s also prone to stuffing her face with comfort food. Late last year, The ENQUIRER reported that Oprah hit the 280-pound mark as a result of binge eating and boozing over stress from her failing network, among other things. Friends fear she could hit 300 pounds over her current problems.
Meanwhile, Oprah has been working night and day to save the sinking network. She met with advertisers, launched a new talk show, “Oprah’s Next Chapter,” developed programs and hired seasoned executives.
Ratings picked up a little, but not enough. Business experts now estimate that OWN has lost more than $330 million and still counting!
In March, Oprah had to lay off 30 staffers and cancel the heavily hyped Rosie O’Donnell talk show.
Now Oprah herself is being reined in, and she’s apparently not taking it well.
“She was completely humiliated by the decision to have her step down,” disclosed the insider.
“She’s been in tears ever since.
“Her closest friends, including BFF Gayle King, are rallying to give her support during what she’s calling ‘one of the lowest points’ of her life. But Oprah’s emotional condition continues to deteriorate.”