May 18 - Oprah Winfrey is winding down her syndicated talk show after 25 years, and is ready to move on to her next big venture- the Oprah Winfrey Network, but there are signs her fans are not following her. Bobbi Rebell reports.
13,000 fans were lined up at Chicago's United Center to be a part of history- two of the final Oprah Winfrey shows taping. SOUNDBITE: CHAD CREGO, OPRAH WINFREY FAN, (ENGLISH) SAYING: "No matter what part of the world you are from there's something about Oprah you can connect with and that's always meant a lot to me." SOUNDBITE: SANDRA BENNETT, OPRAH WINFREY FAN, (ENGLISH) SAYING: "It was lovely. It was a lovely mother's day gift to be able to tell my mom I got her tickets." SOUNDBITE: FAITH BENNETT, OPRAH WINFREY FAN, (ENGLISH) SAYING: "After years and years of trying." And it has been years- 25 to be exact. SOUNDBITE: ANNOUNCER (ENGLISH) SAYING: "Making her 4,559th appearance on the Oprah Winfrey show, please welcome Oprah!" The guest list for the farewell shows was filled with A list stars- including Michael Jordan, Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith, Tom Cruise, and Tom Hanks. SOUNDBITE: TOM HANKS, ACTOR, (ENGLISH) SAYING: "Oprah Winfrey today you are surrounded by nothing but love" But so far that love has not translated into ratings at her cable channel - The Oprah Winfrey Network. And that will be Oprah's next challenge: Horizon Media's Brad Adgate: SOUNDBITE: BRAD ADGATE, SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT, HORIZON MEDIA (ENGLISH) SAYING: "She's going to focus entirely on this new network and she's going to know what's working and what' s not working and again her name's on the network. This is not the- she's been you know- she wrote the book on how to brand yourself that others have copied but nothing's like the original and I think you are going to see you know ratings start to turn around." Producers are keeping mum about the content of the very final original show- set to air on May 25th. Bobbi Rebell. Reuters