Is Oprah Winfrey ready to ditch her syndication deal and take her talk show to her new cable network OWN? Yes, according to Nikki Finke, who reports that the queen of daytime will soon announce that she will not be renewing her syndication contract with CBS Television Distribution and will be moving her show to the new network, set to launch in 2011:
“I’ve learned that in coming days Winfrey and Discovery will issue a press release announcing OWN’s on-air launch for the start of 2011. And, in several weeks, Oprah will tell the public that she’s ending her syndicated Chicago-based daytime talk show when her current deal runs out and moving it to OWN headquarters in Los Angeles probably as soon as mid-2011.”
Although Finke seems certain about these facts, The New York Times reported that Winfrey is “nearing a decision on whether to continue her daily talk show on broadcast television,” and said that an official decision will likely be announced by the end of the year. The Times also said that Winfrey is in talks “with syndicators other than CBS,” and pointed out that she has “taken advantage of speculation about possibly leaving her show in order to enhance renewals,” in the past.
OWN, which has had its launch date moved back several times, will replace Discovery Health Channel in 70 million homes. The hope, it seems, is that placing the popular talk show on the channel will drive viewership. But will viewers follow Oprah from broadcast to cable? Despite declining ratings, she has a loyal following. Fans are willing to shoot any book she suggests up to the top of best seller lists and buy everything on her “Favorite Things” lists. Chances are good she’ll have no problem drawing viewers no matter where she lands.
THE END OF ‘OPRAH’ AS WE KNOW HER –Deadline Hollywood
Question For Oprah: Broadcast or Cable? –New York Times