Friday, November 20, 2009
Oprah Winfrey moves on: Will you watch her next act?
There were a lot of things that made me feel old this year—Say Anything’s 20th anniversary? Are you sure?—but nothing quite hits me like the news that Oprah Winfrey will be quitting her talk show on Sept. 9, 2011. A little maudlin? Yes, I admit. First, it’s not like she’s actually retiring: By all accounts, she’s making the move in order to devote time to her network OWN, which might mean more Oprah in the end, not less. And second, even though the date has been set, it’s still almost two years hence, which leaves plenty of time for commemorative episodes, extra-special interviews, celebrity drop-ins, and free goodies for screaming audience members. (Did we mention Oprah’s brilliant negotiating skills? Can we also point out the marketing genius of announcing your farewell 22 months before it actually happens?)
Still, as Oprah prepares to sign off on the nice, round number of her 25th season, you can’t help but note that an era is passing. She’s been hosting that show for a quarter of a century. For most of my life, I could count on the fact that at 4 p.m. here in New York and New Jersey, no matter what else was going on, you could sit down and watch something amazing, fascinating, silly, ridiculous or any combination thereof. Whether you agreed with her or not, she had people talking from the start. So I’ll leave you with this link to Paul Simon’s song “Ten Years,” the theme to Oprah’s 10th season, and three questions: How do you feel about The Oprah Winfrey Show bidding adieu? Will you follow her to OWN? And — for real now, since she might have the time — would you vote for her for president?