Oprah made the big announcement at the end of her show today.
There were, of course, tears. But, rather oddly, Winfrey did not mention her move to cable (scroll down for video).
Here are the comments Tim Bennett, the president of Harpo Productions, said yesterday would "mark an historic TV moment that we will all be talking about for years to come."
Judge for yourself:
"After much prayer and months of careful thought, I have decided that next season, season 25, will be the last season of ‘The Oprah Winfrey Show.’
Over the next couple of days, you may hear a lot of speculation in the press about why I am making this decision now … and that will mostly be conjecture.
So I wanted you to hear this directly from me.
Twenty four years ago, on September 8, 1986, I went live from Chicago to launch the first national “Oprah Winfrey Show.” I was beyond excited … and as you all might expect, a little nervous. I knew then what a miraculous opportunity I had been given, but I certainly never could have imagined the "yellow brick road" of blessings that have led me to this moment with you.
These years with you, our viewers, have enriched my life beyond all measure. And you all have graciously invited me into your living rooms, into your kitchens, and into your lives. And for some of you long time ‘Oprah’ viewers, you have literally grown up with me — we’ve grown together. You had your families, and you raised your children and you left a spot for me in your morning or your afternoon, depending on when the “Oprah” show airs in your town.
So I just wanted to say that whether you’ve been here with me from the beginning or you came on board last week, I want you all to know that my relationship with you is one that I hold very dear. And your trust in me, the sharing of your precious time every day with me has brought me the greatest joy I have ever known.
So here we are, halfway through the season, 24, and it still means as much to me to spend an hour every day with you as it did back in 1986. So why walk away and make next season the last?
Here is the real reason: I love this show. This show has been my life. And I love it enough to know when it’s time to say good-bye.
Twenty-five years feels right in my bones and it feels right in my spirit. It’s the perfect number—the exact right time. So I hope that you will take this 18-month ride with me right through to the final show.
Over this holiday break, my team and I will be brainstorming new ways that we can entertain you, and inform you and uplift you when we return here in January. And then season 25—we are going to knock your socks off.
So, the countdown to the end of ‘The Oprah Winfrey Show’ starts now and until that day in 2011 when it ends, I intend to soak up every meaningful, joy-filled moment with you.
Thanks everybody and I’ll see you on Monday."