Big shoes to fill as Oprah walks away

Bowing out

Moreover, the earth will almost certainly still be spinning on its axis.

Even in Chicago, the city Oprah Winfrey is abandoning, life is pretty sure to continue as normal. Expect the pizza to be as tasty and the gusts off Lake Michigan to be as persistent on Thursday as they were the day before.

This is not to say change isn’t in the wind.

As everybody knows, The Oprah Winfrey Show is ending on Wednesday after a spectacularly successful, quarter-century run, and the air is thick with “we-shall-not-see-its-likes-again” eulogies.

Understandable. After being a long fixture on daytime TV as well as in the national psyche, it may be hard to imagine how the 60-minute void Oprah is leaving can be filled.

The closest thing to an heir apparent seems to be Dr Oz, the Winfrey-produced talk show whose star, Dr Mehmet Oz, one of Winfrey’s proteges. In many markets he’s being rewarded with the 4 pm slot where Oprah reigned for so long. But there is no clear consensus. In a few markets, the former Oprah station will forgo any syndicated replacement and instead launch an added hour of local news.

In short, these are big shoes to fill as Oprah Winfrey walks away. Of course, her leave-taking has caught no one by surprise. She made it official in November 2009, declaring that “the countdown to the end of The Oprah Winfrey Show starts now.”

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