Oprah Winfrey will announce today that her quarter-century run as goddess of daytime talk TV will end in 2011, but nobody expects the billionaire to drift into obscurity.
Experts weighed in on Winfrey's unparalleled influence on dayime television and speculated about what the future holds for the icon, who has been at the top of her game in recent weeks, landing interviews with Sarah Palin, Whitney Houston and chimp attack victim Charla Nash.
Joe Flint of the Los Angeles Times predicted Winfrey will dedicate herself fully to her new cable TV venture, the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN), which coincidentally is set to launch in 2011. “Winfrey is making the decision that she can make more money and build her brand better on cable than broadcast. OWN, which will debut in 2011 in roughly 70 million homes, will be turbo-charged by having her on board as a regular presence,” Flint writes.
Ernest Wilkins, writing on Chicagonow.com, paid tribute to the Windy City icon. “You're an institution. You've taken a talk show and used it to change how people interact in our society. On a personal note, you more than exemplify what a little hard work can do for you. That's inspiring.”
Curt Wagner, also on Chicagonow.com, snapped back that “it’s about time” Oprah moved on. “I think Winfrey's been ready to hang up the mic for years to pursue other interests and make billions of more dollars,” he wrote. “Seriously, why run a syndicated talk show when you can run an entire network.”
"I don't believe this is the last we'll be seeing of Oprah's talk show -- I think she'll be doing it on [OWN]," industry analyst Marc Berman of Mediaweek told the New York Post.
Newsrealblog.com proffered this easy and improbable (Oprah loves her some Obama), but impossible to resist prediction about Oprah’s future: the White House. “Doing some quick math, that gives her just over a year to campaign for 2012,” a giddy Karen Northon wrote of the September 2011 end date.