Oprah Pulls The Plug On "The Oprah Winfrey Show"
Since yesterday, we knew the official public announcement was coming and today we got it. Oprah Winfrey announced on a live broadcast that she will end "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in 2011 after 25 years.
After much prayer and months' of careful thought, I've decided next season, season 25, will be the last season of "The Oprah Winfrey Show.
With those words, the most powerful woman in television shook up not only the daytime TV world, but the TV world as a whole.
I love this show, this show has been my life, and I love it enough to know when it's time to say goodbye. 25 years feels right in my bones and it feels right in my spirit. It's the perfect number. The exact right time.
Oprah choked up when she said, "These years with you...our viewers have enriched my life beyond all measure."
In January 2011, Oprah's set to launch her own cable network, OWN and ending "The Oprah Winfrey Show" will free up her time to devote to that endeavor. Of course Oprah is not just the woman and the show, but a television empire.
Her production company, Harpo has produced, in addition to her talk show, shows for Dr. Oz, Rachael Ray and Dr. Phil, soon to be followed by design guru, Nate Berkus. In primetime, there were ratings rich TV movies like "Tuesdays with Morrie" and "Their Eyes Were Watching God."
Last year Oprah signed a three year deal with HBO to produce movies, TV shows and documentaries.
She thrilled the publishing industry when she sold books by the truckload after starting her Oprah Book Club in 1996. There's O Magazine, and her also her charity work. The Angel Network and The Oprah Winfrey Leadership School for Girls in South Africa are two of those projects.
And though "The Oprah Winfrey Show" was her launching pad for everything, she's absolutely right. It does feel like the right time to go.
The blogosphere of course is buzzing. Skinnamon Coast at Cocoa Popps wrote:
Oprah has not only played the game but re-defined the game and arguably, owes no one any explanations for doing what she felt she needed to do to create her best life. We can probably all take a page from the Big O’s book and put something in motion to get closer to our own ideal existence.
Over at The Root, there's a great post, "Oprah's Blackest Moments." Here's one example:
My earliest memory of her was when she had a number of white supremacists on her show. One of them—a fairly swarthy-looking sort—was blathering on about white power, yada, yada, yada. Oprah stopped him mid-sentence, asking him, “What are you doing up there with the white power people? You look like you’ve got some Negro blood to me.” For a long time after that, Oprah could do no wrong in my book.
Granny Pants wonders "What Will Become of Us Without Our Angel of Altruism?
Oprah, are you training your replacement? Who will step into your shoes to fill this invaluable role for those who also serve? No matter what the future holds, we thank you for what you have done to elevate service to others above screaming matches!
Today's show was in some ways a perfect example of what her show has represented for so many years. It began with an interview with the father of Shaniya Davis, the child who was murdered and allegedly sold as a sex slave by her mother.
Then in a later segment, Oprah interviewed Gabourey Sibide from "Precious," a movie about a young woman who is sexually abused by both her parents. After seeing the movie before it was released, Oprah invested in the film and along with Tyler Perry became one of its executive producers.
It's the kind of project that Oprah has supported from the bully pulpit of her show, since she's talked many times about being sexually abused as a child herself.
Of course Oprah's had bumps along the way, and love her as much as I do, I've had my issues with her. But I've said it before and I'll say it again: the good that she has done has far, far surpassed any bad.
She's an incredible woman and I for one will be ready to tune into OWN as soon as it hits my TV set.
The last thing Oprah promised before signing off today was "Season 25, we are going to knock your socks off."
Let's hope so!
Megan Smith is the BlogHer Contributing Editor covering Television/Online Video. Her other blogs are Megan's Minute, quirky commentary around the clock and Meg's Rad Review.
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