No. 2 Oprah Winfrey (Host, Producer, Empire Builder): CBS Syndication and ABC Television
Oprah Winfrey knows how to quit while ahead, as she announced in November 2009 that she would pull the plug on her top-rated syndicated talk show. No one can call Winfrey a couch potato, as she will keep busy with her two magazines, (O, The Oprah Magazine and O at Home), her multimedia production company, Harpo Productions, Inc., and the launch of her new cable network, OWN (Oprah Winfrey Network). She is the richest African American of the 20th century, the greatest black philanthropist in US history, and considered by many as the most influential woman in the universe. Book publishing companies have already called her resignation a blow to the industry, as her product recommendations virtually guarantee a best-seller. However, the millions in lost revenue for them and both broadcaster ABC and syndicator CBS is only half of the story. The real impact is Winfrey’s departure from network TV to cable. A trend could emerge as cable continues to expand market share. Winfrey will be a premier brand in a medium with more creative freedom that is debatably beating broadcast on content. Her viewing audience of 42 million people in 145 countries wonders…after 25 years, are Oprah’s talk show days really over, or will we just need to change the channel?