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Oprah announces end of syndicated talk show

UPDATE: Oprah Winfrey will end her syndicated daytime talk show in 2011.

The top-rated talk show host told her staff Thursday that she will conclude her show on Sept. 9, 2011 -- when her current contract expires. The announcement will air during Friday's episode of "The Oprah Winfrey Show."   

Oprah draws about seven million viewers a day and her departure was first reported a couple weeks ago. After the show concludes, she plans to focus on her cable network, OWN.

Here's a statement from her distributor, CBS TVDistribution:

"We have the greatest respect for Oprah and wish her nothing but the best in her future endeavors. We know that anything she turns her hand to will be a great success. We look forward to working with her for the next several years, and hopefully afterwards as well."

 Here's a copy of an email Harpo sent to station owners who carry her show:

Dear Friends:

Over the past several weeks, my team and I have had conversations with many of you to help address your questions about the future of "The Oprah Winfrey Show." Of course, the one question we couldn't answer was the one that only Oprah could. And tomorrow, she will do just that.

But before she speaks to her loyal viewers, we wanted to share her decision first with you - our valued partners for more than two decades.
Tomorrow, Oprah will announce live on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" that she has decided to end what is arguably one of the most popular, influential and enduring programs in television history. The sun will set on the "Oprah" show as its 25th season draws to a close on September 9, 2011.

We welcome you to share this news this evening with your colleagues and viewers. As we all know, Oprah's personal comments about this on tomorrow's live show will mark an historic television moment that we will all be talking about for years to come.

We want to thank you for the partnership and friendship we have shared over the years. Your invaluable support has helped us to create the phenomenon of the "Oprah Show" that we've all been so proud to be a part of for the last 24 years. My staff and I will be calling all of you directly tonight and tomorrow. We look forward to speaking with you.

And, if you think the last quarter century has been something, then "don't touch that dial" as together we plan to make history in the next 20 months...and beyond.