With the announcement that The Oprah Winfrey Show and its host will leave their daytime home of 25 seasons, her loyal are fans reeling and her critics are wondering if this signals Winfrey finally jumping the shark. She’s leaving the network game to try her hand at the helm of her own cable network, aptly titled The Oprah Winfrey Network, or OWN. She will co-own the network with Atlanta-based Discovery Communications, and OWN will be housed on what is currently the Discovery Health Channel.
Now, the question is, who will fill the void Winfrey leaves in the wake of her migration to cable? Judging by the month long media blitz, it looks like the baton is unofficially being passed to Ellen DeGeneres.
From DeGeneres dressing as the cover of O Magazine for her Halloween show, to she and her wife, Portia de Rossi, doing their first interview as a couple with Winfrey, to the multiple covers shots of Winfrey and DeGeneres for O Magazine, all signs point to Winfrey thinking DeGeneres is the right woman for the job.
But what about the upstarts, like mini-mogul Tyra Banks and radio-host turned talk show diva Wendy Williams, looking to fill Winfrey’s Louboutins? They have a leg up on Winfrey and DeGeneres when it comes to millenial buy-in, but do they have the brand power to step in front of DeGeneres? Or is there a wildcard waiting in the wings? We’ll have to wait until 2011 to find out.