Oprah's Phase-Out Gives Local TV Time To Shop Around

Here she goes again. Oprah Winfrey has announced she is terminating her syndicated television show by 2011, which has ratings implications for local broadcast stations and sent shockwaves across the industry.

A few years back, Winfrey suggested she was quitting, then decided to continue with huge increases in syndication costs. This prompted WBIR to give up her ratings-lucrative early evening show and switch to local programming—hence Style, Live at Five, local news block. WATE jumped in and signed Oprah and went on to ratings success in the time slot.

Now Oprah has announced a phase-out of her program, which has had declining ratings over the past year. Given the long lead time, it allows local stations time to find a replacement.