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What is next for Oprah Winfrey?

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Image by Alan Light via Wikimedia Commons

Yes, it’s true- daytime television talkshow tycoon Oprah Winfrey will be leaving her iconic role after 25-years hosting the Oprah Winfrey Show. While her tearful on-air announcement left many loyal viewers stunned, we are nowhere near seeing the last of her.

Oprah is simply moving on to bigger and better things, like primetime TV. The new show, “Oprah’s Next Chapter,” is set to air in early 2012. Meanwhile, Oprah will continue to host her popular daytime TV talk show until September 2011. The queen of talk shows will be hosting the new multi-night program on her newly created network, OWN, or The Oprah Winfrey Network, where the she will be featured as an intrepid globe-trotter interviewing prominent figures around the world. Do not fret, loyal viewers– this means more Oprah for everyone!

Oprah stated,”My vision for OWN is to create a network that inspires our viewers and makes them want to be who they are on their best day.”

In her new OWN network Oprah will cover series such as Visionaries: Inside the Creative Mind, Why Not? with Shania Twain , Gayle King Live! and Your Own Show: Oprah’s Search for the Next TV Star.

Why, may you ask, is Oprah leaving? Her hugely successful daytime talkshow reached an all-time high of 33 million viewers at its peak, was ranked 1st for 23 consecutive seasons, and has been viewed in 145 countries. In addition to the TV show, Oprah’s empire includes magazines, websites, books, and films. According to Forbes, she was also at one point the world’s only African-American billionaire. Since airing in 1986, Oprah has entered numerous homes and has generated countless devoted fans. Four words explain it all: the time is right.

“I love this show, this show has been my life, and I love it enough to know when it’s time to say goodbye… Twenty-five years feels right in my bones and it feels right in my spirit. It’s the perfect number. It’s the exact right time,” she said to her audience during her on-air announcement on Friday.

The end of the Oprah Winfrey Show, for many, marks the end of an era. Her talk show highlighted politics, race relations, pop culture, and countless other topics, while also sharing her history of abuse, battle with weight, and other mistakes and successes along that way. The trust she garnered and connections she made with the American public showed us that just like the rest of us, she is not above being human.

Finding a replacement for Oprah in the daytime talk show slot will not be easy. CBS and ABC television network viewings will most probably take a hit until a strong successor is found. So far, possible candidates include Ellen DeGeneres, Oprah’s prodigy Dr. Mehmet Oz, Katie Couric, and Michelle Obama (post-White House). Until then, Oprah’s loyal viewers will probably be following her to her new network.

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