Oprah Winfrey will end her talk show in 2011. Her production company said the media powerhouse will make it official on Friday’s episode, according to reports.
For decades, her talk show has set the standard for TV. Until recently, her ratings were consistently strong (an appearance by Sarah Palin Monday boosted sluggish ratings, said the AJC’s Rodney Ho). She helped new talents like Tyra Banks, Dr. Oz, Rachel Ray and Dr. Phil start their own shows (though as a colleague reminded me, we aren’t sure what will happen to best friend Gayle King). There was also the resounding support for Pres. Barack Obama during his election bid.
Consistently one of the highest earning women in the world, Oprah turned living room book clubs into million-dollar ventures.
For Atlantans, she’s been even closer to home, by being close friends with Atlanta’s own movie maker Tyler Perry. Most recently the two went cross-country as producers and mega-watt promoters of the film “Precious,” starring comedienne/TV host Mo’Nique.
Of course, her reign was not without controversy. Her roller coaster weight issues were a source of non-stop fodder for tabloids, talk show segments and magazine covers. She was criticized by some for saying she would not invite rappers onto her show. Plus, her relationship with Stedman Graham has faced microscopic scrutiny for years.
Still it’s been an incredibly long and successful run. For that, she will be celebrated and missed.