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Last updated at 14:10 GMT, Monday, 23 November 2009

Oprah's show to end


23 November 2009

The iconic American talk show host, Oprah Winfrey, is to stop doing her globally famous show in September 2011, after 25 years on the air.

Richard Lister

Oprah Winfrey


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The Oprah Winfrey Show began in 1986 and is now broadcast in 140 countries. With its confessional atmosphere and Ms Winfrey's candour about her troubled childhood and her weight and relationship problems, it's redefined the talk show genre.

It's also made her the wealthiest black woman in the world, and possibly too, the most influential. A Maryland University study suggested her support for Barak Obama had been key to his nomination. Authors appearing on her programme can become bestsellers overnight.

Oprah is still the highest rated talk show on US television but audiences are half what they were a decade ago. Her empire also includes magazines, a radio show and, from next year, a television network, so it seems likely her place in American culture will continue.

Richard Lister, BBC News, Washington


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with its confessional atmosphere

encouraging participants to admit that they have done something wrong, or that there is something they feel guilty or bad about, almost like in a Christian (especially Roman Catholic) church where people tell God or a priest about their wrongdoings in order to be forgiven


being honest and telling the truth, even when it is difficult or embarrassing

her troubled childhood

the many problems she experienced and lived through while she was still a child

redefined the talk show genre

changed significantly the way in which talk shows were made, broadcast and perceived

the most influential

having more power over/effect on more people than any other black woman

key to

the most important factor in


here, authors of books that enjoy big commercial success (note that a very commercially successful book is also called a bestseller)

the highest rated

the most popular, the most watched


here, a very large and powerful business