Oprah Winfrey cries on live show announcing the end of 'Oprah'

With tears in her eyes, Oprah Winfrey said on her Friday “live from Chicago” Oprah show that she will cancel her talk show as of Sept. 9, 2011. Pegging her show’s exit to its 25th anniversary, Winfrey said it “feels right in my bones and it feels right in my spirit.” Her voice breaking, she said haltingly that she valued “the yellow brick road of blessings” her show has brought her. She promised to “knock your socks off” with the “18-month ride.” The audience gave her a standing ovation.

Winfrey waited until we’d watched a grim, wrenching segment on a raped and murdered child, plus interviews with Gabourey Sidibe (the star of Precious, a movie to which Winfrey signed on as a co-producer) and with Ray Romano to make her announcement.

Frankly, during the opening segment, I hit the “mute” button as soon as I heard the phrases “sold into sex slavery” and “cigarette burns on her body.” I just don’t have the stomach for this kind of story, and frankly, was surprised that Winfrey still does segments like this.

But Oprah has done a lot of good that far outweighs the questionable stuff on Oprah. Thus, her announcement had the feeling of an American queen stepping down from her throne, or an unelected president resigning from office. And it’s not as though she’s going to disappear any time soon, which only adds to the pop-culture interest here. Unlike the few major broadcast entertainment figures comparable to her, from Arthur Godfrey to Johnny Carson, Winfrey’s decision to make this a long goodbye will yield a new model for how a beloved celebrity leaves the public stage ( …if only until she starts up her next TV project).

Even when she decides to end something, Oprah does it in a uniquely big way.

Did you watch? What do you think of Oprah ending Oprah?

More on Oprah Winfrey: Oprah says ending her show ‘feels right in my bones’

Comments (47 total) Add your comment
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  • Gillian Rosheuvel

    “And it’s not as though she’s going to disappear any time soon”

    MUCH to my chagrin.

    • CD

      You are an idiot.

      • Cherish

        Its crazy to me when people talk crap about Oprah. This is a woman who has made it her life’s mission to bring negative, never talked about issues into American’s homes. She has inspired housewives to help people in need across the world, she has made abuse and rape a talked about issue so that a dialogue can be started and so that people who are being violated can come out about it or people that see it aren’t afraid to tell someone, she singlehandedly improved the declining sale of Books, hell she even helps with telling what your poop means. There is no other talk show on TV that brings so much information and thought into American homes. Oprah is irreplaceable and people should have a little more respect about talking trash about her.

  • Art Kocsis

    Frankly, during the opening segment, I hit the “mute” button as soon as I heard the phrases “sold into sex slavery” and “cigarette burns on her body.” I just don’t have the stomach for this kind of story, and frankly, was surprised that Winfrey still does segments like this.

    She does it because it is still going on and people like you, in your smug arrogance, could care less. Maybe you should experience what it is like to be tortured. It would probably do you a lot of good.

    • Jason Clinard

      “Couldn’t care less”, actually. People never seem to get that correctly. If you “could care less”, that actually means you are able to care less. If you “couldn’t care less” it means that no matter how hard you try, you just cannot care less. Anywho, way to be a knee-jerk reaction troll.

  • No to Chris Sligh

    Who the eff is Arthur Godfrey?

  • ash

    For Ophra thank god it is about time she always has to broadcast why not do something in silence she is not God people grow up

    • 123

      Hey hey what to you say. Learn how to spell and then go away.
      Ash please learn punctuation, spelling, and grammar before posting stupid comments like this. You’re embarrassing yourself.

    • Li

      Since ‘god’ is a creation of superstitious lonely humans, I say that Oprah is a self-made ‘God’ deserving of such a title. It is her that empowers many women of all ages to strive for something better, in which religion often does not preach.

      • Gillef

        Li, you’re on to something! Gods are the products of humans’ fanciful imagination. So if we all get together and declare Oprah a god, she de factor becomes one. Brilliant! That old bearded geezer in sandals needs to be updated anyway, he is so 1st century.

  • moon unit

    Sorry Ken, hearing about an abused child, a story of national importance and one that the Oprah show has done plenty of over the years is not new to loyal viewers. It’s too bad you have no conscience about a murdered child, getting in the way of your sunny day.

    • ger

      I think it’s more too much conscience (even though that doesn’t really describe it). Some of us just think that perhaps a show where you’re plugging your new movie and announcing your “retirement” may not be the right time to talk about something so horrible. To me it kind of cheapens that family’s pain.

      • jk

        I disagree that featuring a raped and murdered child in the same HOUR-LONG show as other topics doesn’t at all cheapen the child’s family’s pain. Have you ever seen the news, or any other talk show for that matter? They cover a variety of stories as well, and no one claims that it does a disservice to some of the more serious topics addressed. Plus, Ken said that Oprah also interviewed Gabourey Sidibe, the star of “Precious,” in this particular program. Are you aware that that movie tells the story of a girl who is abused and raped by her father? Oprah often ties in different segments to one another, and even if she doesn’t I don’t see how diversifying her programming is some egregious offense.

  • Quirky

    2011? Is she leaving in order to run as Palin’s VP choice?

  • CMD

    I can’t believe you said something as stupid as “You don’t know why Oprah does stories about abused children.” I just lost all respect for you Ken. Maybe you don’t realize that Oprah has helped catch evil people like this, by broadcasting warning signs, telling stories to make it ok for people to get help if they need it, and talking about an issue that everyone else in entertainment is to scared to touch. If you don’t get that maybe you should stick to writing horrible movie reviews and fluff pieces. Leave the mature subject matters to those that are adult enough to handle it.

  • Trina

    I’ve heard of this Oprah lady – she has a TV show on during the day time? I’m usually at work, school, or doing more important things with my life than watching TV, especially shallow talking heads.

    • Anna

      But apparently you have time to go onto an entertainment website and comment on these “shallow talking heads”.

      • 85

        Ha Ha…….CHECK AND MATE!!!!!!!

    • Li

      Oprah Winfrey isn’t just a talk show host that try to bring the evils and the goods into the television screens of North Americans. She was brought up in an poor neighborhood and went through a lot of crap growing up. She also runs her own charity called “Oprah’s Angel Network” and has done numerous philanthropic work throughout the USA and the world.

      So as far as ‘doing more important things’, I doubt you can broadly compare. You’re more like a pebble, while she’s an entire mountain.

    • Seriously!! Really!

      Trina think about what you are writing before you write it. If you really were doing more important things, then you would not be on EW right now, you would not have clicked on this story and you would not be writing on a blog about her. Its so funny when people say stupid things with out thinking about it. You on a blog talking about Oprah, so you must care enough to at least spend time writing and giving your opinion. I think it is hilarious when people say they don’t watch tv, but yet spend their time writing on a site like EW’s TV news. What the hell are you on a entertainment website for if you think your to good for entertainment. Go do those “better” things your so fond of and leave the opinions to people who know what they are talking about.

  • Billy Blade

    I just wish her show had ended in
    2003… What a loser of a show…
    “I feel your pain”

  • Melinda

    Sheesh! people, lighten up on the negative comments – it’s not all that! The author of the article didn’t want to hear the child rape story – that’s her right – and the fact that Oprah is popular is no reason to tell the rest of us to grow up simply because we appreciate her show…
    I don’t own a TV and only get to watch TV when I go to Dialysis three times a week – so I rarely catch her show but when I do its always entertaining – I’ll have to watch the farewell segment on Youtube..LOL…and to the rest of you grouches – have a chocolate break – get those endorphins pumping..

  • AL M

    Good riddance.

  • pat

    you sad people , get a life

  • justjoancman@aol.com

    Is she taking “girl friend” Ellen with her???

  • pat

    This woman voice is self made millions of dollars stop hating

  • ES

    Even though i dont watch Oprah as much as I used too, her show broke down boundaries, especially for black women, and covered a lot of important topics. I have a lot of respect for her. It’s going to be weird not seeing her on abc. whoever replaces her timeslot is going to have major shoes to fill.

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