Oprah to end talk show in 2011

Oprah Winfrey confirmed on her show Friday that the 25th season will be the last.

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By Breeana Hare, CNN

CHICAGO, Illinois (CNN) -- Oprah Winfrey knows how to keep viewers on the edge of their seats.

In the last 10 minutes of her show, Winfrey confirmed that she will be ending her syndicated "Oprah Winfrey Show" in September 2011.

"After much prayer and months of careful thought, I thought that next season, season 25, will be the last season of 'The Oprah Winfrey Show,' " she told the audience.

"You may hear a lot of speculation in the press about why I'm making this decision now, and I wanted you to hear it from me," she said. "Twenty-four years ago on September 8, 1986, I went live from Chicago to launch the first show. I was beyond excited, and a little nervous."

Winfrey remained calm after her announcement, even when guest Ray Romano joked that she was going to make this is his mother's saddest and happiest day by simultaneously having Romano on and confirming the Oprah era had come to an end.

"I knew what a miraculous opportunity I had been given, but I certainly couldn't have imagined the yellow brick road of blessings," Winfrey said, pausing as she became visibly and audibly choked up. "You, the viewers, have enriched my life beyond measure. You have graciously invited me into your kitchens, living rooms and lives. Some of you have literally grown up with me; we've grown up together.

"Whether you've been there in the beginning or just started last week, I hold it dear. It still means as much to me to spend an hour with you as it did in 1986," she said.

And then, the answer to the most obvious question: why leave the show? Oprah didn't give much of an answer.

"Here is the real reason: I love this show, this show is my life, and I love it enough to know when it's time to say goodbye. It's the perfect number, the exact right time," she said.

She encouraged her fans to stick out the next 18 months as she and her production team pull out all the stops to make the last season of "Oprah" one that will "knock your socks off."

"The countdown to the end of 'The Oprah Winfrey Show' starts now," she said. "Until that day, I intend to soak up every meaningful, joyful moment with you. I'll see you on Monday." To top of page

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