Friday, November 20, 2009

Oprah Winfrey: Ending Her Show?

Urban Chameleon news

For those of us up and coming hustlers on our daily grind towards fame and fortune it's headline news like this that stresses us out, "WHAT IF I DON'T MAKE IT TO OPRAH'S COUCH BEFORE SHE RETIRES!"

The most successful daytime talk show of all time has TV stations, syndication distributors and several conglomerations in a bind: Will Oprah Winfrey keep her show on the air past the 2011 contract date?

The decision will have major ramifications for multiple industries, no less for ABC-owned and Hearst-owned outlets where the talk show queen has dominated the ratings since the 1980s.

If Oprah does decide to keep going, she will face three major dilemmas: revenue, ratings and relocation.

Television stations revenues are down 40–50 percent across the board. Therefore, Oprah faces the very real prospect of stations offering significantly reduced licensing fees to air her show, says Variety.

Ratings: It’s no secret that "The Oprah Show’s" ratings have decreased in recent years, particularly since she publicly backed Barack Obama as a presidential candidate — no doubt upsetting her conservative fans. And while she is still considered the queen, stations are not willing to pay the same price for smaller viewership, especially in these harsh economic times.

Still, even though the ratings are down from the previous decade, Oprah has regained some of her swag. Her audience is now 7.2 million strong compared to 6.8 million last year in the important 18–49 demographic. And there is no other talk show franchise that even comes close to those numbers.

Relocation: There is also the very real possibility that Oprah could decide to move her operations to OWN, her network partnership with the Discovery channel. She could also move from ABC to Sony, pundits hypothesize, which would give her additional creative freedom.

If Oprah decides to quit altogether, a mad scramble may ensue to find an heir apparent. Ellen DeGeneres is seen as a likely successor. Oprah even put DeGeneres on the cover of her magazine, O, which illustrates Oprah’s fondness for her only real ratings rival. Longtime friend Gayle King is not an option, for she tried and failed to start a show of her own.

Pundits do not believe Oprah is yet willing to forgo her coveted and enormous international pulpit to push issues, agendas and personalities very dear to her heart. Industry insiders point to Howard Stern as an example of a major national personality who went from self-proclaimed “King of all Media” to near-complete irrelevance since his nasty divorce from broadcast television and hook up with satellite radio.
terry shropshire /source from

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