Who Will Fill Oprah’s Shoes?

20 Nov

Image: J. Nguyen

Say Goodbye to the Oprah Winfrey Show

Although ratings have been taking a slow dive for the last few seasons, the Oprah Winfrey Show has been a mainstay of daytime television for 23 years. So, who will viewers look to for their daily talk fix when Harpo Studios shuts the show down?

Current daytime talkers Ellen DeGeneres and Rachael Ray already have established audiences and likely have peaked with their viewership. Although the Ellen DeGeneres Show has maintained a popular base, it looks like DeGeneres may be taking baby steps beyond the talk show couch with judging appearances on reality shows So You Think You can Dance and American Idol. The Rachael Ray Show has modest popularity, but it’s unlikely the show’s format has the depth to carry on for the length of time the Oprah Winfrey Show has been around.

The Doctor is in

Is it time for a new format for daytime talk TV? Last year’s introduction of a health-focused talk show with a panel of medical practitioners has proved to be successful for The Doctors. With the high cost of health care and rampant misinformation on the Internet, medical education on television is a natural. That’s why Dr. Mehmet Oz has stepped in to the game with good reviews for his health-based show and a growing audience of women attracted to his ability to present a plain talk message regarding health concerns.

New on the Daytime Scene

A recent arrival to the talk show genre may be shaking it all up and moving the format from substantive issues to talk show lite. Wendy Williams has crashed on the scene with a refreshing focus on gossip, popular culture, and the wacky world of wigs and weaves. Although critics have hit back on the show’s lack of production values, Williams is becoming a favorite for celebrities who flock to her show to interact with her energetic audience.

Oprah’s influence will also be around in the near future. Harpo Productions is finalizing a new daytime show for the show’s favorite interior designer, Nate Berkus. With one of the show’s most popular segments featuring home makeovers, Berkus has tested the waters this year by stepping out of the design box with segments that aren’t based strictly on home decorating.

By the time Oprah’s final show rolls around on September 9, 2011, there’s sure to be a number of daytime talk options popping up to tell us how to handle our feelings and what to wear. Of course, there’s always Sarah Palin.

Update: Following in Oprah’s footsteps, Tyra Banks announced she will be shutting down production on her talk show in spring 2010. Is the afternoon talk show genre over?

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