Say it ain't so, O.
Amid declining ratings and apparent pressure from her joint venture partner, Oprah has apparently decided not to renew her contract with ABC, which ends in Fall 2011.
Once the juice runs out, she plans to focus primarily on getting her long delayed Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) going strong.
Oprah's production company, Harpo Studios, denies that Oprah has finalized her plans.
"She has not made a decision yet," said a Harpo spokesperson. "As she has previously stated, she'll be making an announcement before the end of the year."
OWN is a joint venture between Discovery Communications and Winfrey, and Finke reports that Discovery Chief David Zaslav recently told the daytime diva that she needs to "move it or lose it," meaning she either migrates her talk show to the cable venture or the whole OWN ship goes down.
Over the last several years, Discovery's been through three executives and is said to have lost millions. Discovery recently posted a 25% decline in profit in the third quarter.
But the move to L.A. could be the final piece of the puzzle to make Discovery a success. After all, Oprah's show is the crown jewel of two networks.
CBS, which syndicates Oprah's show, is none too happy about the potential move.
"Les Moonves, Bob Iger, and Sony will flip out," an insider told Finke. "The only winner is David Zaslav."
Oprah leaving Chicago would be like the Pope leaving Vatican City, so the move would be no easy task. But rumor has it that the Big O is already sorting out who and what she's going to salvage from her West Loop located Harpo studios when she moves to Tinseltown.