I keep looking at Oprah Winfrey's announcement that she is ending her syndicated talk show in 2011 and having two thoughts. First, that 2011 is still more than a year away, and her mind may change. Second, that even if she leaves daytime broadcast TV, I don't see her giving up a bully pulpit entirely, especially not when she is launching her own cable net in '11. Consider this statement re her future, from the head of Discovery Communications, a partner in her network:
“There is no bigger brand in media than Oprah Winfrey. She has changed the broadcast landscape and how people consume television. Along the way, she impacted our culture and touched us all. We congratulate her and our friends at Harpo for their many achievements, and their years of creating truly ground-breaking television. Discovery Communications has a tremendous partner in Oprah, and we look forward to bringing her and her creative vision, programming and unique voice to approximately 80 million homes on OWN, as well as online through the award-winning Oprah.com.”
Since noting that, I have watched her at the end of today's show. I will take her at her word that she is done with the syndicated program, and that the next 18 months will be quite a ride, especially in the 25th and apparently final season. On the other hand, when she refers to "conjecture" and "speculation" about what she will do next, I am happy to jump aboard -- if only to say she can end the show as currently presented and titled, and still go on to something similar. (Was there a difference, really, between "Late Night With David Letterman" and "Late Show With David Letterman"?) I mentioned before her "bully pulpit," as in Theodore Roosevelt's declaring the presidency "a bully pulpit for preaching." And Winfrey has certainly used her, including for the movie "Precious," discussed below. I think she will want to continue to have such a pulpit, and a daily show is a good one.