Oprah's Last Show Draws 16.4 Million Viewers

It's her most-watched show in 18 years -- since a 1993 airing of "Why I Love Older Women."
(c) 2011 Harpo, Inc./George Burns. All Rights Reserved

The final episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show drew 16.4 million viewers, according to Nielsen figures released Wednesday.

That makes it her most-watched show in more than 18 years. A February 1993 episode called "Why I Love Older Women" was watched by 17.3 million viewers. PHOTOS: Hollywood's most powerful women

The final episode had a 13.3 household rating, according to preliminary numbers released on May 26, the day after Oprah signed off the air. That was higher than her two star-studded farewell episodes that were taped at Chicago's United Center. The hour hosted by Tom Hanks, which aired on May 23. scored a 10.2 metered market household rating, while the May 24th installment, hosted by Will and Jada Pinkett Smith, averaged a 10.7. Read THR’s minute-by-minute live blog, and critics’ reviews of Oprah's United Center shows.

Winfrey is taking a vacation before diving into full-time work on her OWN Network, which has struggled in ratings and faced executive turnover since launching in January. PHOTOS: Oprah's most memorable moments

Her follow-up show, Oprah's Next Chapter, will air in 2012. VIDEO: OWN's first promo

"Oprah as we know it with a studio audience is over. We can't do it any better than we've done it," The executive producer of the Oprah Winfrey Show and president of Harpo, Sheri Salata, told The Hollywood Reporter earlier this year. "I think you can expect to see Oprah out in the world, and having the look and feel very different. it's about what Oprah is interested in exploring and interested in life."

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