Talk show queen Oprah Winfrey plans to announce today that The Oprah Winfrey Show will come to an end in 2011, after 25 seasons. The news of the impending end of The Oprah Winfrey Show is significant. Oprah has been an essential part of daytime TV since 1986, spawning off an empire that includes a magazine, a radio show and a cable network. With Winfrey gone in 2011, who will fill her coveted talk show spot on daytime TV?
Oprah has always shared her posse with her fans. Everyone from her hairdresser Reggie Wells to her favorite doctor, Dr. Mehmet Oz, have been featured on her show. Fans have also gotten to know and love Oprah’s BFF, Gayle King, and very well. It would not be a surprise if any one of Oprah’s friends would end up taking her place in the interviewer chair (many of her friends, like Dr. Phil and Rachael Ray, have already enjoyed spinoff talk shows).
According to Broadcasting and Cable, Winfrey’s Harpo Productions has tapped designer Nate Berkus for a new syndicated show to begin in the fall of 2010. Berkus is one of the most popular regular guests on The Oprah Winfrey Show. His popular segments started out as high-end room makeovers, but fans really got to know him after Winfrey interviewed him during the aftermath of the Sri Lanka tsunami in 2004 (Berkus survived the tsunami; sadly his partner, Fernando Bengoechea did not).
With Winfrey leaving the helm, it is quite possible that Nate Berkus’ show could fill her spot. Fans know Berkus and are comfortable with him. He’s long since stepped out of the box of simply doing room makeovers, hosting the reality show Oprah’s Big Give last year and doing Oprah Winfrey Show segments this season that included taking over for a busy mom for a day.
Then there’s Gayle King. Oprah’s best friend (and O Magazine Editor) has been on The Oprah Winfrey Show many times, heading segments on searching for the best hamburger in the United States and sitting on Oprah’s Fridays Live panel. Fans love King. A Gayle King talk show would certainly ease the pain of losing Oprah.
No matter who attempts to fill Winfrey’s shoes, they will undoubtedly have their work cut out for them. But spending an hour each weekday with one of Winfrey’s friends would make the transition easier for longtime fans.