Winfrey ponders what’s next for her talk show, and we all wonder: Where will we get our Oprah fix?
Speculation about the future of The Oprah Winfrey Show hit a fever pitch last week after one of the talk show’s key executives jumped ship to help launch the planned Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN). Lisa Erspamer was the coexec producer of Winfrey’s daytime show, but as OWN’s chief creative officer, she’ll now help develop new programming for Winfrey’s joint venture with Discovery Communications. Will Winfrey’s talk show move to cable too? Her contract with distributor CBS Television isn’t up until 2011, and for now, the 55-year-old queen of daytime is not talking. ”She has not made a decision yet,” says a spokeswoman. ”She’ll be making an announcement before the end of the year.” The timing of OWN’s roll-out could play a role: Though the network has long indicated that it would launch in 2010, rumors persist that it will be delayed another year to give Winfrey more time to build a chick-friendly lineup. (So far the network has announced a handful of shows including Lisa Ling Investigates and a sex-therapy series from Sirius XM host Dr. Laura Berman.) While CBS hopes Winfrey stays in syndication — ”If she wants to continue her show, then we want to continue to be in business with her,” says a spokesman — the lure of cable could be irresistible. ”I doubt she would see the same ratings, but cable could give her a broader platform,” says Rich Gagnon, chief media officer for Draftfcb, a media-buying firm. ”One talk show does not a network make. [But] if anyone can do it, Oprah could.”
The world may come to an end in 2012, which opens Nov. 13, but civilization could have a chance to start anew in 2013, a TV series that Roland Emmerich is currently developing based on his movie. The film’s director-producer confirmed to EW exclusively that the series will be about ”what happens after the disaster. It will focus on a group of people who survived.”
— Lynette Rice
Marlee Matlin makes a mockery of ‘Family Guy’
One of the most controversial moments in Fox’s Nov. 8 special Family Guy Presents: Seth & Alex’s Almost Live Comedy Show came when Alex Borstein (who voices Guy‘s Lois) imitated hearing-impaired actress Marlee Matlin, only to be interrupted by the Oscar winner herself, who dished out some zingers of her own. While Matlin tells EW via e-mail that she’s not a regular Family Guy viewer — ”They’re cartoon characters,” she quips. ”I can’t read their lips!” — the actress says she doesn’t mind that the show has repeatedly made fun of her speaking voice. ”It was sick. It was twisted. It was rude. But the day we censor humor is a sad one, for sure. All I gotta say is ‘Lighten up, people.”’
— Simon Vozick-Levinson