According to a report today in Broadcasting & Cable, the most likely replacement for The Oprah Winfrey Show when it goes off syndication in fall 2011 is something that will save local stations (or groups) money.
“Oprah’s ratings have eroded so much that the image of Oprah is much stronger than the reality of Oprah, either as a news lead-in or as a money-maker,” says one station executive. “In many cases, Oprah is a stunning loss leader. There are people who are deeply thankful she is calling it quits.”
The report includes a number of alternatives being discussed including more local newscasts, but concludes that the options to replace Oprah will be "unlikely to get Oprah-sized ratings but are far cheaper". The idea that Rosie O'Donnell or others might "replace" Oprah is dismissed.