As expected, Oprah Winfrey announced Nov. 20 that The Oprah Winfrey Show will sign off in Sept. 2011, after 25 years. Below is the complete announcement, made at the end of this morning's broadcast, courtesy of her hometown ABC station, WLS-TV Chicago:
"After much prayer and months of careful thought,
I've decided the next season, season 25, will be the last season of the
'Oprah Winfrey Show,' Winfrey said. "Over the days you may hear a lot
of speculation in the press about why I'm making this decision now and
that will mostly be conjecture, so I wanted you to hear this directly
"Twenty-four years ago on September 8, 1986, I went live from
Chicago to launch the first national 'Oprah Winfrey Show.' I was beyond
excited, and as you all might expect, a little nervous. I knew then
what a miraculous opportunity I had been given, but I certainly never
could have imagined the yellow brick road of blessings that have led me
to this moment with you. These years with you, our viewers, have
enriched my life beyond all measure. And you all have graciously
invited me into your living rooms, into your kitchens, and into your
lives, and for some of you long-time Oprah viewers, you have literally
grown up with me, we've grown together.
"You had your families
and you raised your children and you left a spot for me in your morning
or your afternoon, depending on when the Oprah show airs in your town.
So I wanted to say, whether you've been with me from the beginning or
whether you came onboard last week, I want you all to know that my
relationship with you is one that I hold very dear. And your trust in
me, the sharing of your precious time every day with me has brought me
the greatest joy I have ever known.
"So here we are halfway
through the season, 24, and it still means as much to me to spend an
hour every day wit you as it did back in 1986. So why walk away and
make next season the last? Here is the real reason -- I love this show.
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.
"So I hope that you will take this 18-month ride with me right through
to the final show. Over this holiday break, my team and I will be
brainstorming new ways that we can entertain you and inform you and
uplift you when we return here in January. And then season 25, we are
going to knock your socks off. So the countdown to the end of the
'Oprah Winfrey Show' starts now. And until that day in 2011 when it
ends, I intend to soak up every meaningful, joyful moment with you.
Thanks, everybody. And I'll see you on Monday."