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DISNEY STARTS MULLING OPRAH REPLACEMENT: ‘We are certainly in the process right now of reviewing our options.’

December 1, 2009

      *ABC television says it has a great head start on dealing with the impossible task of replacing Oprah Winfrey, who announced plans to end her talk show in 2011.      

       “Oprah has given us two years’ notice, which is not something you generally see in television,” Disney/ABC Television Group president Anne Sweeney told Reuters on Monday. “We are certainly in the process right now of reviewing our options.”      

       Sweeney, who is also co-chair of Disney Media Networks and oversees the ABC Television Network, described Winfrey as “one of a kind” but nonetheless said she could foresee a “myriad” of ways to replace the TV star.      

       While refusing to name names, Sweeney said, “I think it’s going to be really interesting to see who comes forward and who emerges during this time as the next great idea, personality and then the next great piece of programming,” she said.      

       “It’s a matter of understanding the marketplace and thinking about what it’s going to look like in two years and what is the best thing that you could be programming at that hour for consumers, and I think it’s going to vary station to station,” she said.       

       Winfrey will end her show to focus on OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network, a cable channel to be launched in partnership with Discovery Communications Inc.

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