It’s official: after 25 years, The Oprah Winfrey Show will end in 2011

Variety reports that after 25 years, Oprah Winfrey’s iconic show will end its run on September 9, 2011. Winfrey apparently broke the news to her staff at Chicago-based Harpo Productions earlier today. She’ll officially announce the end of the show tomorrow.

No word on whether Winfrey will launch a new show on OWN, her new cable partnership with Discovery. Discovery head David Zaslav would like to see the host move her show to the new channel, which is expected to launch in January of 2011.

The news isn’t a total surprise, especially after Lisa Erspamer, a key Oprah Winfrey Show employee, was tapped as Chief Creative Officer at OWN.

“We have the greatest respect for Oprah and wish her nothing but the best in her future endeavors,” “Oprah” distributor CBS said in a statement. “We know that anything she turns her hand to will be a great success. We look forward to working with her for the next several years, and hopefully afterwards as well.”

Had Winfrey decided to keep her show on-air, it was expected to leave CBS TV Distribution and move to Sony, since her deal with CBS ends in 2011 as well.

According to the report, Winfrey had been unsure about the future of her syndicated talkshow for some time, first hinting in the late 1990s that it could end.

Read more about possible scenarios that could arise for networks, with Oprah’s coming departure RIGHT HERE.

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