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Oprah Winfrey announced Friday that her television show, the foundation of a multibillion-dollar media empire, will end its run in 2011 after 25 seasons.
With tears in her eyes, and her voice occasionally breaking, the queen of daytime television announced her abdication. During a live airing of “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” today, Winfrey announced her plans to end the talk show Sept. 9, 2011.
“After much prayer and months of careful thought, I’ve decided the next season, season 25, will be the last season of ‘The Oprah Winfrey Show,’ ” she said. “I wanted you to hear this directly from me … you have enriched my life beyond all measurement.
Answering the question that is perhaps on the minds of her millions of fans, Winfrey said, “Why walk away? Here is the real reason. I love this show, this show has been my life, and I love it enough to know when to say goodbye.”
Though she offered no specifics about her future plans, Winfrey, 55, is expected to start a new talk show on OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network, a delayed joint venture with Discovery Communications Inc. in 2011, according to the Associated Press. OWN will replace the Discovery Health Channel and will debut in some 80 million homes.
“The Oprah Winfrey Show” is broadcast live from Chicago at 10 a.m. (EST), and airs throughout the U.S. at various times.Â It is broadcast in 145 countries around the world and seen by an estimated 42 million viewers a week in the U.S., according to Harpo Productions Inc. (No. 14 on the BE Industrial/Service list ), which produces the show. The company was the BE 100s Company of the Year in 2008.
“There is no bigger brand in media than Oprah Winfrey. She has changed the broadcast landscape and how people consume television,” said David Zaslav, Discovery Communications president and CEO, in a statement.
In 2008, Winfrey said that her intention for OWN “is for it to live beyond me — for it to be a living network of possibilities for people in their own lives … To be able to say that my life was used in service to help people come to their highest potential, I would do it even if my name wasn’t attached to it.”