Television

Oprah looks to extend talk show by two years

MUMBAI: For several years now Oprah Winfrey has entertained Star World viewers in India with her talk show. Now reports indicate that the media billionairess is looking to extend her run by two years.

Last year in March Winfrey had indicated that she wouldn't go beyond the 2005-06 season. However she is said to be close to finalising a deal with distributor King World Productions that would keep her on the air through the 2007-2008 season.

On Star World the show airs weekday mornings and has dealt with a variety of issues from Tom Cruise and Steven Spielberg talking about Minority Report to Dr. Phil lending advice on weight loss. Winfery's latest decision is expected to have a ripple effect throughout the US syndication business.

A report indicates that under the new deal, US stations picking up the show are apparently paying significantly higher licensing fees to King World to lock in the show for the additional two-year period. If Winfrey sticks with the new date, she will have been on the air with her show for 22 years.

King World and Winfrey have been negotiating with ABC. Howver the CBS O&Os, King World's corporate siblings under the Viacom umbrella, were understood to have made a significant bid to land "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in 2006. ABC stations including the group's flagships -- WABC New York, KABC Los Angeles and WLS Chicago are paying significantly higher license fees to lock in the highest-rated talk show in syndication.

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