Oprah Winfrey has no immediate plans to give up her syndicated talk show and move it to her new cable network, according to a spokesperson for her production company, Harpo.
“Oprah has not made a decision,” said Angela DePaul. “She’ll be making an announcement before the end of the year.”
The statement is in response to Internet reports that Winfrey would be moving her syndicated talk show to OWN, her new cable network, which is a joint venture with Discovery Communications.
Blogger Nikki Finke reported that “Oprah will tell the public that she’s ending her syndicated Chicago-based daytime talk show when her current deal runs out,” and that the announcement about a launch date for OWN would be coming soon.
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Finke also said Winfrey would uproot the show and move it to OWN headquarters in Los Angeles as soon as 2011.
“We are not commenting on rumors or speculation,” said Beth Gebhard, a spokesperson for OWN, in response to questions about a possible Los Angeles move. Gebhard also said, “(OWN) will announce our launch date by the end of the year.”
Slideshow: Celebrity scandals of 2009 Winfrey’s current deal ends in 2011, but the host has previously announced her retirement only to later renew her contract several times.
The fuel for this latest round of rumors has less to do with Winfrey’s contract and more to do with one of her longtime producers. Discovery announced Wednesday that Lisa Erspamer, co-executive producer of Winfrey’s talk show, will join OWN in January as chief creative executive. To those in the industry, that announcement suggested that perhaps Winfrey was planning to uproot the show as we know it and move it to L.A., and ultimately, to OWN.
Harpo and OWN insiders are being extraordinarily tight-lipped about a potential end date for the show on network television, but executives outside Harpo and OWN say the move makes sense.
According to one, “network programming is going to become a place you go to for specials, big news, and sports. The prime time programming and talk shows — expect it to go cable. That’s where it makes the most sense.”
Slideshow: Celebrity Sightings Another high-ranking executive at a competing network said viewers shouldn't expect Winfrey to make a big move until OWN has leadership and some other programming deals in place.
“‘Rudderless’ is how I’d describe the current situation at OWN,” said the source. “There’s been a lot of shuffling of leadership at the top, and they’ve yet to line up programming outside of the Oprah-specific brand. Oprah isn’t going to want to carry this (network) entirely, there’s a lot of work to be done.”
Christmas comes early at box office
If you’re of the opinion that Christmas comes too early these days, you might consider avoiding movie theaters, as the start of the holiday film season is upon us.
Case in point: “A Christmas Carol,” Disney’s big 3-D release directed by Robert Zemeckis and starring Jim Carrey, opens this weekend in 3,500 theaters.
“A Christmas Carol” will nab the family audiences. For those looking for comedy, there’s George Clooney’s “Men Who Stare at Goats.” The only problem, according to early buzz, is that you’ll be staring at a mostly unfunny movie.
Two more wide releases will appeal to those who are somehow not horror-ed out at this point: “The Box” (Frank Langella, Cameron Diaz) and “The Fourth Kind” (Mila Jovovich) both have wide releases. Predicted No. 1: “A Christmas Carol.”
Courtney Hazlett delivers the Scoop Monday through Friday on msnbc.com. Follow Scoop on Twitter @courtneyatmsnbc
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