Oprah Winfrey says ending TV show "feels right"

Fri Nov 20, 2009 1:01pm EST
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By Andrew Stern

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Oprah Winfrey said on Friday that she will end her popular TV show in 2011 because it "feels right in her bones" after 25 years, and urged viewers not to believe rumors of why she's quitting.

"This show has been my life and I love it enough to know when it's time to say goodbye. Twenty-five years feels right in my bones, and it feels right in my spirit. It's the perfect number, the exact right time," Winfrey said during Friday's show at her Chicago studio.

Winfrey, 55, did not divulge her future plans. But her production company Harpo Inc. said in a statement that once production ends on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in 2011, she "plans to appear and participate in new programing for OWN", the Los Angeles-based cable TV venture she formed with Discovery Communications Inc.

Harpo said the launch date for OWN, or the Oprah Winfrey Network, which will be seen in more than 70 million homes, was now set for January 2011.

During her long career atop the television talk show heap, Winfrey's fluctuating weight and personal relationships have become tabloid fodder, and commentators have wondered whether she was tiring of the grind -- only to see her slim down and revive her show's popularity.

"Over the next couple of days you may hear a lot of speculation in the press about why I am making this decision now, and that will mostly be conjecture," she said.

Winfrey choked up once and wiped away a tear as she thanked viewers for having "graciously invited me into your living rooms, your kitchens and into your lives.

"So here we are, halfway through the season 24. And it still means as much to me to spend an hour every day with you as it did back in 1986," she said.   Continued...