Oprah Announces Show's End in 2011
The end of Oprah Winfrey's 20+ year television reign will end in 2011 -- or will it simply just take over the cable world on Winfrey's own network?
In a statement released Thursday afternoon by Harpo, Inc. -- Winfrey's production company behind her massive empire -- the company announced that the talk show queen will tell her audience and the world of her show's end on Friday. "The sun will set on the "Oprah" show as its 25th season draws to a close on September 9, 2011," the statement published by WIVB.com says of Winfrey's impending bombshell.
For weeks, rumors of a change in Oprah's show -- namely buzz that Winfrey would be taking her show off of syndicated public television and onto her own cable network -- grew at a frenzied pace. There had been little communication from Oprah or Harpo until this bombshell announcement.
The statement written by Harpo president Tim Bennett says that Winfrey "has decided to end what is arguably one of the most popular, influential and enduring programs in television history," adding that her announcement "will mark an historic television moment that we will all be talking about for years to come."
Bennett vaguely alluded to Winfrey's future plans in his statement, saying that "if you think the last quarter century has been something, then 'don't touch that dial' as together we plan to make history in the next 20 months...and beyond."
In a report earlier this month, Deadline Hollywood Daily blogger Nikki Finke reported that Winfrey would be taking her show to her cable network OWN (The Oprah Winfrey Network) and that there was a good deal of behind-the-scenes tension between Winfrey, CBS and Discovery Communications over the decision. Finke's reporting seems to be dead-on, as the Nov. 5 post stated: "in several weeks, Oprah will tell the public that she's ending her syndicated Chicago-based daytime talk show when her current deal runs out and moving it to OWN headquarters in Los Angeles probably as soon as mid-2011."
TMZ is reporting that Winfrey's protege Dr. Oz may have something to do with the announcement, or at least the timing of it. According to the Web site, Winfrey hopes that once she's off of ABC, the 'Oz' show will then take over in her time slot.
According to the New York Times, both CBS and ABC stand to lose millions from her departure.
CBS owns syndication rights to Oprah's show, while ABC airs the program -- which generates high ratings and leads into the network's local news.
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