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Oprah announces new show

Posted by Matthew Gilbert  April 8, 2010 05:33 AM

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You didn't think Oprah Winfrey was really going away, did you? The superstar superstar has announced that she'll be premiering a new series, called "Oprah's Next Chapter," late next year on her OWN cable channel, the Oprah Winfrey Network. The hourlong show will be on two or three times a week, and it will air at night. Yup, the queen of daytime, whose current talker will wrap in September, has her eye set on prime time. The format will bring Oprah out of the studio for conversations in places around the world. "I'm going to take viewers with me, going to take celebrities I want to interview with me," she told the Wall Street Journal.

Will Oprah be able to bring her adoring -- but shrinking -- daytime audience to a new network, at a new time, when she will be up against the big network and cable lineups? We'll see. Oprah will also appear in other OWN series -- maybe even a book-club show. "My name's going to show up on that grid a lot," she said. The network, which will go live on Jan 1, 2011, will also feature lots of other big-name talents. One series, called "Master Class," will feature the likes of former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Jay-Z telling their life stories. Another, a reality series, will follow singer Shania Twain in her recovery from a broken marriage.

All this new activity will be a test of the Oprah brand. OK, so she can sell magazines, create blockbuster books, make stars, save the world, inspire millions, and move mountains. But can she compete with "American Idol"? This should be interesting.

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Katie McLeod is Boston.com's features editor.

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