Oprah Winfrey is expected to announce today during her daytime show The Oprah Winfrey Show that the hit daytime talk show will come to an end in 2011, 25 years after it first made its debut. The final show will air on Friday, September 9, 2011.
But it won’t be the last we see of Oprah. Winfrey will launch her network OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network, which she owns with Discovery Communications in January of 2011. The announcement of Oprah ending her talk show had been expected, but it none-the-less is a major blow for local TV stations despite a dip in audience over the last few years. The show is still drawing a very respectable 5.4 household rating this season, which translates to about 7.3 million viewers and is #2 in daytime behind Wheel of Fortune. The show recently nabbed its best ratings in two years with Monday’s episode which featured an interview with former Republican VP candidate Sarah Palin (an 8.7/13 household rating/share).
OWN will debut in 80 million homes when it launches in January 2011, about three years after the venture was initially formed (the network was originally scheduled to debut at the end of this year, but was then pushed to 2010 and now 2011).
“I love this show,” Winfrey said. “This show has been my life. And I love it enough to know when it’s time to say good-bye. Twenty-five years feels right in my bones and it feels right in my spirit. It’s the perfect number — the exact right time. So I hope that you will take this 18-month ride with me right through to the final show. So, the countdown to the end of ‘The Oprah Winfrey Show’ starts now and until that day in 2011 when it ends, I intend to soak up every meaningful, joy-filled moment with you.”
“Oprah has been nourishing people through her television show for nearly 25 years, a legacy that has touched millions the world over,” said Christina Norman, CEO of OWN. “She is the life force behind OWN and will be guiding the effort for this completely new 24-hour television experience premiering in January 2011.”