After a long relationship with ABC where her longtime popular daytime talk show has run, Oprah Winfrey is said to be leaving for her own Oprah Winfrey Network by 2011. Get this, she may retire her nationally syndicated “Oprah Winfrey Show” as well.
The chief executive of Oprah Winfrey’s business partner in her Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) told the Chicago Tribute that he expects the Queen of Daytime to retire by 2011, but Oprah’s spokeswoman said that’s not set in stone just yet.
OWN is a 50-50 venture between Winfrey’s Harpo Productions and Discovery Communications, and is set to launch next year.
“The expectation is that after [the 2010-11 season], her show will go off of syndication, and she will come to OWN,” David Zaslav, Discovery’s president and CEO, said reports the paper. “We’re talking now about what that presence would be and what programming she would be involved in directly. But this is her Chapter Two, and building the OWN brand online and on-air is something that she and I, we’re working [on] together and it’s a core mission for her.”
Her contract with CBS Television Distribution expires in 2011, after her 25th season. CBS says Zaslav may be jumping the gun with his statement. They said it “is a decision only Ms. Winfrey will be making.”
“She has not made a final decision as to whether she will continue her show in syndication beyond that,” Oprah spokeswoman, Lisa Halliday, said in a statement.
According to the Tribune, Winfrey has flirted with possibility of ending her long-running show for quite some time now. She thought about it in 1997, but signed a renewal through 2002. She then re-signed in 2002, with the expectation that her 20th season in 2006 would be the end. But, by 2004, she changed her mind again and extended the deal.
She hinted at 2011 being the end earlier this year, explaining that her OWN network is a way for her to extend her business legacy beyond her popular daytime show.
“The truth of the matter is one day the show has to end. That may be 2011 and that may be after 2011,” Winfrey said, reports the Tribute. “This is an evolution of what I’ve been able to do every day. I will now have the opportunity to do that 24 hours a day on a platform that goes on forever.
“This network isn’t just about me,” she continued. “It’s using the voice and the brand and the vision, but it really is about creating possibilities for any number of people … to extend the vision in a way that obviously I cannot 24 hours a day.”