Oprah Winfrey is ending her daytime TV reign.
The Oprah Winfrey Show is scheduled to stop production in 2011, TVGuide.com has confirmed. She will formally announce her departure on Friday's show.
Winfrey's final program will air Sept. 9, 2011 — 25 years after the talk show's debut. Tim Bennett, the president of Winfrey's Harpo Productions Inc., confirmed the news in a letter to ABC affiliates.
"Tomorrow, Oprah will announce live on The Oprah Winfrey Show that she has decided to end what is arguably one of the most popular, influential and enduring programs in television history," Bennett wrote in the letter obtained by Access Hollywood. "The sun will set on the Oprah show as its 25th season draws to a close on Sept. 9, 2011."
Winfrey, 55, notified the staff of her pending exit Thursday afternoon at a company meeting, Chicago's WLS-TV reported.
The New York Times reported that Winfrey will concentrate on her forthcoming cable channel, OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network. OWN was originally expected to begin in late 2009 or early 2010, but management turnover and an uncertain advertising climate have caused delays, the Times said. It's intended to replace the Discovery Health Channel in some 74 million households.
Winfrey's show is still No. 1 among syndicated talk shows, attracting about 7 million viewers a day. The show has been a mainstay for ABC's local station group; just this season, Winfrey got exclusive interviews with everyone from Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield to Whitney Houston. Earlier this week, Winfrey hosted 2008 Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin in her first interview for Palin's new book.
Aside from The Oprah Winfrey Show, Harpo Productions is also behind Winfrey's magazine as well as other syndicated fare such as The Rachael Ray Show and Dr. Phil. Forbes magazine recently estimated Winfrey's worth at $2.7 billion.
Fellow daytime talk show host Ellen DeGeneres — who currently graces the cover of Winfrey's O magazine — shared her thoughts on the news after her own taping Thursday. "I don't think I could be here without her. I think she has blazed a trail ... She is an amazing woman," DeGeneres said. "She will always be the queen of daytime television."
Are you sad to see Winfrey's show end?