The end of "O"

Dec. 2, 2009, midnight | By Anya Gosine | 11 years, 9 months ago

For over two decades, she has harnessed the power of a daily hour-television slot. She has enlightened everyday housewives, self-conscious singles and active businesswomen. She has spread her wings to cover issues present in all races, ages and socioeconomic statuses. So when Oprah Winfrey announced Nov. 20 that she would be ending "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in 2011, the media world was rattled.

Photo: Oprah announced Friday that she would be ending her show in 2011 after 25 years of broadcast. Picture courtesy of Harpo Productions

Since its inception in Sept. 1986, "The Oprah Winfrey Show," better known as "Oprah," has sucked in millions of viewers, and become the longest-running daytime talk show on television. Winfrey consistently captivates viewers with her insightful celebrity interviews, engaging discussions on pop-culture trends and emotional explorations into eye-opening issues, such as obesity and current politics. By establishing an intimate relationship with her viewers, Winfrey has risen above many other television show hosts. She divulges personal issues, such as her famous weight gain, to the audience. Other unique features of the show include Oprah's Book Club, in which select literature is discussed, as well as her self-improvement segments, which provide for inspirational stories. The show's largely positive vibe and moving tone is certainly one of the biggest sources of its popularity.

Through her talk show, Winfrey gained the status of a cultural icon, giving her power and influence. She was ranked by Forbes Magazine as the most "influential woman in media" and labeled a "Global Influential" by Time Magazine. The success of her show has also led to an offspring of widely popular media, such as the Oprah Magazine, Oprah Radio, and several books co-authored by Winfrey.

Winfrey's philanthropic pursuits have made her work in television revolutionary. Winfrey is the founder of The Angel Network, a global charity project, and the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls, a school for girls in South Africa. On multiple occasions, she promoted these organizations and other benefactor projects on her show, generating widespread awareness for many societal issues.

Fortunately for the millions of O-followers, while they may have to part with an old viewing-ritual, Oprah is in no way backing down from the television scene. According to a Discovery Communications press release, after the end of her talk show Winfrey will launch a 24-hour cable network in partnership with Discovery called the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN). Through OWN, the millions of O-followers will be able to experience the optimistic and spiritual sentiments expressed in her old show.

While a major chapter of her career seems to be ending, Winfrey's reign in the world of pop-culture shows no end in sight. Winfrey will continue to be a monarch in modern media, her loyal subjects always waiting in front of the screen.

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