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Harpo Contradicts Claim That ‘Oprah’ Expected to End in 2011

Nov 7, 2008  •  Post A Comment

Harpo Productions is pouring cold water on a claim that Oprah Winfrey is expected to end her syndicated show in September 2011.
Discovery Communications CEO David Zaslav today said his company, which is partnering with Ms. Winfrey to launch the Oprah Winfrey Network on cable next year, expects her to terminate “The Oprah Winfrey Show” in 2011, when her contract expires, to focus on OWN.
“The expectation is that after that, her show will go off of ABC in syndication and she will come to OWN,” Mr. Zaslav said during an earnings conference call. “We’re talking now about what the presence will be and what kind of programming she would be involved in directly. But this is her Chapter 2, and building the OWN brand online and on air is . . . A core mission for her.”
Ms. Winfrey’s representatives said Mr. Zaslav’s expectations may be premature.
“While David Zaslav’s comments are true that Oprah’s current contract to produce ‘The Oprah Winfrey Show’ will expire in 2011, she has not made a final decision as to whether she will continue her show in syndication beyond that,” said Lisa Halliday, chief spokesperson for Harpo Productions, Inc.
The 2011-12 season would be Ms. Winfrey’s 26th season as host of “Oprah.” Her current contract allowed for an opt-out clause in 2010, but she recommitted to the entire contract in 2004.
The syndicator for “Oprah,” CBS Television Distribution, said it is hopeful that Ms. Winfrey will continue her show. That decision, they said, is up to her.
“We are thrilled that ‘The Oprah Winfrey Show’ will continue production through the 2010–2011 season, its 25th year on the air,” CBS Television Distribution said in a statement. “We are grateful to Ms. Winfrey, her producers and all of our affiliates who remain committed to bringing viewers this exceptional series. We would certainly welcome and hope that ‘The Oprah Winfrey Show’ would continue in syndication beyond that, but that is a decision only Ms. Winfrey will be making.”
(Editor: Baumann. Updated 12 p.m. to add CBS TV Distribution quote in last paragraph.)

68 Comments

  1. This would be awesome!

  2. I already feel the pain.

  3. So she’s going to have her very OWN network? Great, I guess she’s already figured that her new political openness is going to cost her in the ratings and that Obama is going to need an ally in the broadcasting world, once the luster rubs off of his facade and the media begin to turn on him…just as they did Clinton!

  4. “Her show will go off of ABC in syndication”…
    Hey genius, her show airs on ABC, CBS, NBC, and other stations IN syndication. Really, how did you get this job? By reaching your hand into a jar? Hey David Zaslav, Who Ya Crappin’?

  5. This is a comment to Mike G’s posting on 11/7:
    My goodness Mike, you are quite the positive individual aren’t you? You sound just a tad bitter about Obama’s recent success – what a shame.
    Unfortunately, Oprah’s ratings won’t drop at all – in fact, her numbers climbed immediately after the election and is expected to do so from here on. If anything – based on what your asserting – her ratings should’ve dropped drastically after she had Bush 43 on her show, but you see that didn’t happen.
    Perhaps you should take up a job as a pundit at FOX News Channel……we just know how on-target they’ve been the past 8 years.

  6. T-Dog he is right when he says ABC, Oprah is syndicated by CBS but CBS and Oprah renewed it’s deal with ABC, where as Oprah is available in all of the ABC owned-and-operated stations around the country from example WABC, KABC, WLS etc. those stations are required to have Oprah but CBS can syndicate the show to whichever stations that they want in other markets besides the markets that ABC’s owned and operated stations are, also in the deal Oprah produces TV shows, movies and specials for ABC’s primetime network programming and you saw that via Oprah’s Big Give, A Raisin in the Sun, Oprah’s Legends Ball back in 2002, Building a Dream: The Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy etc. Back when Oprah took over AM Chicago and it was ready to go national because of the ratings success, ABC wanted to make the Oprah show what the View is today and show it exclusively on ABC affiliates and have ABC and it’s affiliates pay her one check but she wanted to own the show and syndicate it to different affiliates and in a way have her own network, so she gets paychecks from all the different stations and decides the leverage of the contract for different markets, for example it might cost more for WABC to carry Oprah in NYC than it would for say WBAL to carry it in Baltimore, MD because NYC is a bigger market so she makes more there than in Baltimore, whereas if she were to be with ABC exclusively it would cost the same for a station in Baltimore and NYC to carry Oprah because they are all in the same network, which is how she has become a billionaire. CBS acquired the company King World 2 yrs ago (the deal was made 4 years ago before CBS could be involved) which used to do the syndication part for Oprah which is why CBS isn’t capitalizing on a deal for it’s owned and operated stations. Oprah also has loyalty with ABC because she has worked for them all her life, when she was in Baltimore WJZ was an ABC affiliate then she moved to WLS which was also an ABC affiliate, today she is on ABC owned and operated affiliates.

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