THE SHOW "The Oprah Winfrey Show"
WHEN | WHERE Weekdays, WABC/7 at 4 p.m., WLNY/10/55 at 7 p.m.
REASON TO WATCH The long-awaited Sarah Palin interview.
OPRAH UPDATE Winfrey has promised to make a decision on her new contract by the end of the year. This decision, though, could be a doozy. Deadline Hollywood Daily, a prominent entertainment Web site, reported that after her current deal ends in 2011, she will take her show to OWN, the joint cable venture she has with Discovery Communications. Denials were hastily issued. No decision has been made, she says.
IMPORTANCE OF MONDAY'S SHOW Even if Palin doesn't jump on Oprah's couch, this likely will be the single-most- watched episode of the season. There are minor shades of controversy here, too. Winfrey went on the campaign trail to support Barack Obama's candidacy, and declined to have either Sen. John McCain or his running mate on her program. Palin supporters howled; Oprah calmly explained that she didn't want to have candidates of any party on, and she didn't. Today's interview marks Oprah's first meeting with Palin, whose "Going Rogue" book hits stores Tuesday. It was taped last week.
MY TAKE Oprah is not just the queen of talk TV, but the queen of aphorisms, including: "Don't live your life to please other people" and "The big secret in life is that there is no big secret." Mash those two together and you come up with a reasonable, if superficial, facsimile of Oprah's own psyche. Oprah lives, in fact, to please Oprah. When you are one of the world's wealthiest women, that is feasible. No one tells Oprah what to do, and initial reports - perhaps erroneous - suggested Discovery was strong-arming her to move her show to cable. Meanwhile, the big secret to her life is that there is no big secret: She loves her fans, loves her stuff, loves her fame, loves her considerable influence on popular culture. Mostly, though, she loves her show. The eyes of the world Monday will be on Palin and the host. Perhaps Oprah secretly suspects such power and glory will be hard to achieve on an obscure cable network.
BOTTOM LINE My bet? That Oprah switches syndicators (from King World to, perhaps, Sony), but keeps her show, in some form at least, on broadcast TV.