The future of television after Oprah

Over 7 million people tuned in to The Oprah Winfrey Show each week; what are they going to watch now?


Oprah Winfrey

This morning NPR reporter Elizabeth Blair paid a visit to a nail salon in the hopes of finding out:

Controlling the remote at Patsy’s Nail Bar in Washington, D.C., is receptionist Crystal Jones. She says she puts on what the clients want to watch. “We go from Ellen to Oprah to the Cash Cab,” Jones says. (If you’ve never seen it, Cash Cab is part reality show, part game show. It runs on The Discovery Channel.)

Jones says she is often riveted by some of Winfrey’s interviews. Now she has to figure out how to replace her. “There is going to be a big empty space,” Jones says. “We’ll probably watch movies or those makeover shows on cable, like What Not to Wear.”

When The Oprah Winfrey Show began a quarter-century ago, choices were limited. Today viewers will have many more places to look for something else. Discovery hopes they’ll switch to Oprah’s new cable network. Crystal Jones says she has tried the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN), but so far it is not the best fit for a nail salon. One recent Saturday the network was running a marathon of Oprah’s series on women in jail. “That’s a little bit much,” Jones says. “Nobody wants to see that while they’re getting their pedicure.”

Who do you think will replace Oprah as the next daytime television icon?

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