Nikki Finke nailed it. Oprah Winfrey is signing off of her network show in 2011 to focus on her cable channel, the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN), which is scheduled to debut in January of that year, it was announced Thursday.
The speculation is that Winfrey will have a show similar to her blockbuster, syndicated program, the Oprah Winfrey Show, on her network. The move will likely result in a much smaller audience, but it could also sway some of her regular viewers to flood her network, which is being launched in a deal with Discovery.
The talk show host has been called one of the highest-paid, most-influential people in entertainment, and she has amassed a media empire that includes a radio program, a magazine and, of course, a book club that has sent nearly 50 titles to the top of best-seller lists. But Oprah is a sharp mogul who knows that the next step for any media titan is to seize the means of production. In this case, that means her own cable network.
The transition also means that Oprah might be moving from Chicago to L.A., where OWN will be based. We'll be dancing on our couches when she arrives.