Oprah Winfrey will reveal her decision whether to move her hit talk show — potentially off network television and away from Chicago — by the end of the year, according to her production company.
Harpo Productions and CBS, which own the rights to The Oprah Winfrey Show, tried to play down speculation about the top-rated daytime program following a prominent show business blogger's report this week that Winfrey had chosen to move to her forthcoming Oprah Winfrey Network cable network.
Don Halcombe, a spokesman for Winfrey, has denied that a definitive plan exists and insisted "she has not made a decision yet" about the show's future.
The show — which draws about seven million viewers a day — would also pack up from Chicago, its home base since launching nationally in 1986, and move to Los Angeles, according to the posting by Nikki Finke on her Deadline Hollywood blog.
Winfrey's syndication contract with CBS is slated to end in 2011 and she had pledged earlier to announce her plans by year's end.
Since starting her show in the 1980s, Winfrey has become a major North American tastemaker. Her influence has expanded to a wide range of topics — from books, music, movies and theatre to health issues and politics — via her TV show, her monthly magazine and her satellite radio channel.
Winfrey's new cable network, called OWN for short, is a joint venture between the influential media mogul and Discovery Communications.
Originally expected to launch in late 2009 or early 2010, the start of OWN — which is slated to replace the Discovery Health Channel — has been delayed. Production of OWN shows will be based in Los Angeles.