Oprah Winfrey taped her last episode ever of The Oprah Winfrey Show on Wednesday, May 25. After 25 years and countless hard-to-get interviews, American audiences are left with one burning question: Who can replace Oprah?

The question is actually twofold. Who can replace Oprah in her ABC daytime timeslot? And who can replace Oprah in our hearts? The answer to the first question is for ABC executives. But the second answer is the obviously more difficult one.

There are definitely some candidates who could fill the timeslot, though their mass appeal is questionable. Here is my list:

1) Katie Couric

Couric was the head anchor on The Today Show for 15 years before going to CBS. She definitely has the skills and experience to make her talk show informative and relevant. But can she be as influential on a personal level as Oprah was? It seems unlikely, as her style is more hard-hitting and fact-based than Oprah’s.

2) Meredith Vieira

Vieira replaced Couric on The Today Show and that was after years on The View. Vieira has the best of both worlds when it comes to her talents as journalist and talk show host. She is a better candidate than Couric in my opinion.

3) Tyra Banks

Oprah’s achievements not only helped feminism but she is also one of the most powerful African-Americans on national television. Tyra Banks already sort of fashions herself as a nouveau-Oprah but I don’t think anyone really takes her seriously anymore.

4) Sarah Palin

While I do not think Palin deserves anymore national attention than she already has, it would be foolish of me to disregard her interest in getting a talk show. And her audience would be big—half would be the people who believe in her and the other half would be people who make fun of her. But she could never actually replace Oprah in our hearts.

5) Ellen DeGeneres

Unlike these other women, Ellen already has a hit TV show and I’m sure that there is some overlapping between her audience and Oprah’s. She’s funny, she’s a hero for women and for the gay community, and she’s real. What isn’t there to love about Ellen? While ABC might want her, I doubt NBC would give her up, so I don’t think she’ll take over Oprah’s timeslot on the network. But when it comes to having as much influence and power as Oprah, Ellen could be Oprah’s true successor for the people.

6) Oprah herself

Another possibility is that they could re-air some of Oprah’s oldest episodes for those who were not alive when she first started (like me). That would mean replacing Oprah with Oprah. If ABC doesn’t do that, then Oprah’s network OWN could do it. I’m sure the old episodes would find an audience.

ABC definitely has a tough job head of them. Whatever they decide to do, it will be met with some criticism no matter what. What do you think about who could take Oprah’s spot?

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    gmilon on

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  • Sophia Hurrell
    Sophia Hurrell on

    I have always been indifferent towards Oprah despite her "world’s most powerful and most influential woman" title. Celebrity worship is nothing new but the "Cult of Oprah" takes this to a totally different level. Her most devout worshippers watch her religiously, quote her as an expert, and sprint out of the house to buy every product she endorses or mentions. Oprah is not a doctor or a psychologist; she is a regular person who interviews people and expresses her personal opinions. Her fans perceive her as infallible though, an impossibility for a human being. To see anyone as infallible is dangerous.

    Because of her god-like status and obsessive followers, no one will ever "replace Oprah in our heart" although someone must fill her time slot. I really do hope that none of the people listed above replace her. Couric and Vieira are good at reading off the telepromter and should stick to the news, Tyra is way too self-obsessed, and giving the slot to Sarah Palin could be extremely embarrassing to ABC and I would probably block the channel.

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