Oprah's Decision to End Show Not a Big Surprise, UB Pop Culture Expert Says

From social issues to self help, Oprah has always had her finger on pulse of the media

Release Date: November 20, 2009 This content is archived.


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The decision to end what is arguably one of the most popular and influential shows on television marks a new start for Oprah Winfrey, says Elayne Rapping.

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Today's anticipated announcement that Oprah Winfrey will end her award-winning show in 2011 marks the end of an era in television, but don't expect her influence to wane, says Elayne Rapping, a nationally known media critic and analyst.

Instead, look for the talk-show icon to reinvent herself again, says Rapping, professor of American studies at the University at Buffalo.

"I think her influence is amazing in a way because as times change she just gets bigger and more trend setting," says Rapping, a pop culture expert who has followed Winfrey throughout her career.

"I started writing about talk shows in the 1980s, when they were huge for focusing on social issues -- before cable hit. Oprah was on the ground floor then, presenting herself as a spokesperson for things like being black, overweight, a rape victim, even working class -- and she was a sensation.

"Those days are gone and talk shows of that kind have disappeared, but Oprah has managed to become even bigger by shifting to self help/spiritualist issues as times and attitudes have changed. She has her finger on the pulse of what is happening media-wise and it's not surprising that with the rise of so much cable she is switching again."

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