In the News: Oprah Winfrey

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Oprah Winfrey's announcement that she will cancel her long running, uber-successful talk show in 2011 has the media buzzing. Here are a few stories to check out and ponder while you're reading DC at work.

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The biggest question is, who's next? Can anyone top the queen? There really isn't a replacement out there that will impact the public quite like Oprah, but hey, there are those who are willing to try. The New York Post is reporting that Gayle King is in talks with CBS to produce a talk show of her own after Oprah goes off the air. There is no word from King's court, but her foray into talkdom failed in 1997 when her show was axed due to low ratings.

Next up, the folks over at Variety.com are talking about Oprah's next project. Not one to shy away from work, the talk show guru's Harpo Films has already allied with HBO to produce a steamy hour-long pilot about a woman who dumps her family to explore her secret fantasies and desires in the not-so-glam parts of Los Angeles. Harpo Films president Kate Forte commented about the series,

It is unsentimental and pretty shocking, and there is something complicated and destructive driving her, Forte said. It is literally a day at the pool, where she gets up, in sarong and flip-flops, and walks out of her life, leaving everyone behind so abruptly that her husband and kids initially think she's been kidnapped or murdered.

Lastly, The Christian Science Monitor talks about the declining state of daytime in general. The article claims that Oprah's timing is "impeccable". Winfrey's ratings have dropped over the past several years and although she rules the daytime landscape, her kingdom is shrinking. The report highlights, 

Ratings for The Oprah Winfrey Show continue to show she rules daytime, but less so each year. In 1991-92, ratings for the show averaged 12.6 million viewers, double the 6.2 million who collectively tuned in from 2008-09.

The inevitable comparison to the decline in soap viewership was mentioned as well.

Soap operas are in their bleakest days. Ratings for soap opera perennials All My Children, General Hospital, Days of our Lives, and The Young and The Restless ranged between 4.2 and 7.9 million in 1998; in 2008, ratings for the four shows dropped to between 2.5 and 4.9 million. In September, CBS canceled Guiding Light, the genre's longest running hit after pulling in only 2.7 million viewers this year, down from 5 million in 1999.