Oprah retiring? Not likely

The Queen of daytime talk shows has announced she is calling it quits after 2010. Oprah says, "ending the show feels right in my bones." She goes on to further explain how next season, the 25th, will be bigger and better than ever as she says goodbye to her fans.

What Oprah has "right to the bone" is an entrepreneurial talent to know how to maximize the bucks. She is able to get tons of publicity and interest by announcing the end of the show, thus guaranteeing good ratings and exposure for the Oprah brand. Oprah has amassed a large fortune with her company Harpo Productions, (Oprah spelled backwards), and is one of the richest people in the world, with a rating of 234 on Forbes Billionaire List.

Oprah took a fledgling local show and launched The Oprah Winfrey Show in 1986. Her show is now seen in 144 countries and brings in 44 million US viewers each week. Her production company, Harpo produces Dr. Phil, Rachael Ray, and is adding a show hosted by frequent guest Dr. Oz. She partnered the Oprah Winfrey Network with Discovery with a launch set for late 2009 or early 2010. And Harpo Films just inked a cable deal with HBO after 15 years at ABC.

Doesn't sound like retirement to me. My guess is that Oprah wants to have more control over her "product" and brand. She likely will launch a new show on HBO with a lot of hoopla and fanfare. It will be interesting to see what she does on a network that allows more creative freedom.

I've never been a huge fan, but I find her very interesting. One cannot help but admire any person who could build such an entertainment empire on the strength of her personality (and business savvy) alone.

Barbara Bartlein is the People Pro. For her FREE e-mail newsletter, please visit: The People Pro.
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