Oprah Winfrey To Step Down At End Of 25th Season
“The Oprah Winfrey Show,” an iconic broadcast that grew over two decades into a daytime television powerhouse and the foundation of a multi-billion dollar media empire, will end its run in 2011 after 25 seasons on the air, Winfrey’s production company said Thursday night.
Winfrey plans to announce the final date for her show during a live broadcast on Friday, Harpo Productions Inc. said, bringing an end to what has been television’s top rated talk show for more than two decades, airing in 145 countries worldwide and watched by an estimated 42 million viewers a week in the U.S. alone.
Winfrey is widely expected to start up a new talk show on OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network, a much delayed joint venture with Discovery Communications Inc. that is expected to debut in 2011. OWN is to replace the Discovery Health Channel and will debut in some 74 million homes.
“We have the greatest respect for Oprah and wish her nothing but the best in her future endeavors,” the unit of CBS Corp. said in a statement. “We know that anything she turns her hand to will be a great success. We look forward to working with her for the next several years, and hopefully afterwards as well.”
Winfrey’s 24th season opened earlier this year with a bang, as she drew more than 20,000 fans to the city’s Magnificent Mile on Michigan Avenue for a Chicago block party with the Black Eyed Peas.
She followed up with a series of blockbuster interviews – Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield, exclusives with singer Whitney Houston and ESPN’s Erin Andrews, and just this week, former Alaska governor, GOP vice presidential candidate and best selling author Sarah Palin. She found time between shows to lobby the International Olympic Committee in Denmark for Chicago’s failed bid to host the 2016 Olympics.