After more than two decades on air, the Oprah Winfrey Show is to close in 2011, said the production company behind the programme.
Winfrey (photo, from bbc.co.uk) is one of the most influential women in the US. She has hosted the show since 1986.
Although a spokesman for the star’s Harpo production company would not say why she had made the decision, he added that she would discuss it on Friday’s show.
Billionaire Winfrey is expected to focus instead on the launch of her own TV channel.
With an average of seven million viewers, the Oprah Winfrey Show is a media institution in the US.
The show’s open atmosphere and frank conversation redefined the talk show genre and made Winfrey the wealthiest black woman in the world, said the BBC’s Richard Lister in Washington.
Even though Oprah is still the highest-rated talk show on US television, audiences are half what they were a decade ago.
Her influence is such that authors appearing on the show often become bestsellers overnight. Besides, Winfrey’s support for US President Barack Obama was seen as crucial to his presidential election campaign.
Winfrey’s empire also includes magazines, a radio show and from next year, a television network, OWN, the Oprah Winfrey Network, which is scheduled for launch in 2001.
Therefore, it would seem likely her place in American culture will continue.