So Oprah is adios. In case you missed it Friday:
The other side of this story: Oprah the TV icon may still be a king maker when it comes to presidents and she can definitely still sell a lot of books and magazines but Oprah the TV show has been slipping steadily in the ratings for a few years now, especially among younger viewers.
Last July, Oprah scored its worst ratings nationally in 23 years according to Media Life magazine. Markets where her show once dominated are now close battlegrounds.
Dr. Phil, for example, often draws more viewers on CTV at 3 p.m. than Oprah does at 4. Last Wednesday in Toronto, both Dr. Phil (779,000) and rookie syndication entry Dr. Oz (624,000) pulled in more viewers than Oprah (575,000).
That, coupled with the fact that Oprah's syndication contract expired in 2011 and that stations were already making noises about seeking rate cuts due to lowering ratings had to signal to Winfrey and others that the gravy train was running out of gravy.
Going cable after 2011 does sound like a no-brainer; the way things are going, broadcasters may be cable networks by then. Nikke Finke says Winfrey's new show will be different and smaller. Whether it can still rise to the occasion (as it did last week when Sarah Palin`s visit goosed Oprah`s ratings to a two year high) remains to be seen.
The question for her Canadian fans is will OWN--the Oprah Winfrey Network where her new series will be a cornerstone--cross the border? Seems likely. While CTV licenses Discovery in Canada, Canwest has Discovery Health, which is what OWN will take over once the conversion takes place. That moves Oprah from CTV to rival Canwest--and they didn`t even have to thrown in any draft choices.