Oprah's tearful exit announcement

Credit: AP Photo

Oprah Winfrey is one of the world's richest and most powerful women.


by Eric Adams and AP Staff


Posted on November 20, 2009 at 5:39 PM

After 24 years Oprah Winfrey is leaving the "Oprah Winfrey Show," Chicago-based Harpo Communications, Inc. announced Thursday.

The last show will air Sept. 9, 2011. Oprah will make the announcement on Friday's show, said Tim Bennett, president of Harpo.

"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.  The sun will set on the “Oprah” show as its 25th season draws to a close," Bennett said in a letter to stations that syndicate the show.

Oprah won't be relinquishing the crown she's earned as a media queen, though.

"If you think the last quarter century has been something, then “don’t touch that dial” as together we plan to make history in the next 20
months…and beyond," the letter concluded.

Winfrey started her broadcasting career in Nashville, Tenn., and Baltimore, Md., before relocating to Chicago in 1984 to host the morning talk show "A.M. Chicago" on WLS-TV.

That show was renamed "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in 1985.

A year later, Winfrey established Harpo and her talk show went into syndication. In 1990, Winfrey opened Harpo Studios in Chicago's West Loop neighborhood.

In 2006, King Media, Inc. claimed the "Oprah Winfrey Show" had become the most popular, most syndicated and most profitable show in television history.