First, Conan, and now Oprah? Entertainment industry journalist Nikki Finke is reporting that Oprah Winfrey could be moving from her base of Chicago to Los Angeles to be closer to the home of her OWN (Oprah Winfrey Network) channel, which would carry her namesake show in 2011.
Finke reports that Discover Networks is demanding Winfrey include her trademark daytime talk show as part of the OWN lineup, which is being rolled out in cooperation with Discover.
It's a risky move, as The Oprah Winfrey Show is a cash cow that gives the entertainment mogul mass influence over the buying, reading and movie-going habits of millions of viewers. It also makes her arguably the highest paid person of television (alongside the likes of Family Guy's Seth MacFarlane). But she has threatened in the past to retire.
Finke writes that the possibility of Oprah giving up Chicago — and what is essentially a network show, distributed by CBS and watched mostly on ABC affiliates — took network executives by surprise. But they say the deal's not done that — that she recognizes the power of having a network-like versus having one on a “nosebleed” cable network.