Oprah’s contract to be extended?

It looks like Oprah may not leave her show in 2006 after all. It’s been reported she could renew through the 2007-08 season with distributor King World and the seven ABC-owned stations that carry the show to an average audience of about 26 million viewers a week.

The renewal isn’t quite a done deal yet for the ABC stations, since CBS O&Os reportedly made a significant bid to land “The Oprah Winfrey Show” in 2006.

Buena Vista Television, corporately connected to the ABC station group under the Walt Disney Co., was anticipating eventually moving its “The Wayne Brady Show” into the “Oprah” slots on the ABC stations. Also: Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution felt it had a chance to put its upcoming talk show “Ellen,” hosted by Ellen DeGeneres, into Oprah time slots.

The hour-long Oprah show commands license fees of more than $300,000 a week in New York and Los Angeles and grosses an estimated $300 million a year for King World.

“Oprah” has consistently ranked as daytime’s top-rated talk show since its debut in 1986, except for a brief moment when “The Jerry Springer Show” ranked first in syndication talks in the 1998-99 season.

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