When the song goes flat, Oprah stops singing 'My Favorite Things'

Sorry, entrepreneurs. You're going to have to find another magic wand to bestow magical sales upon you. The Huffington Post reports that Oprah Winfrey has decided not to do her annual "Favorite Things" giveaway episode.

For the past seven years, the big O aired her orgy of consumerist passions around Thanksgiving week, and the publicity routinely sent audiences and manufacturers into fits of apoplectic joy.

But this year, apparently because the recession has proved intractable, Oprah has realized that such a celebratory spending frenzy is not in order. Last year, she toned down the unmitigated opulence of the telecast, choosing affordable goodies and broadcasting from the unlikely locale of Macon, Ga.

This year, she has pulled the plug entirely -- just a week after pulling the plug on the series itself, which is now set to end in 2011.

With Oprah backing out of her current television series, we hereby enter the period of Lame Duck Oprah, in which the seismically powerful culture force realigns herself for her future role. Is the elimination of her "Favorite Things" a harbinger of the new, yet-to-be revealed Oprah? Or is it merely a calculation designed to telegraph empathy for the hard times so many of us are having?