Oprah's Slipping—or TV Is

Ratings for her shows have fallen, but execs aren't worried
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted May 26, 2008 12:17 PM CDT
A photo released by Harpo Productions, Inc., shows Oprah Winfrey, second from right, as she is joined by cast members from the upcoming film "Sex and the City," on Thursday, April 24, 2008.    (AP Photo/ Harpo Productions)
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(Newser) – Oprah’s still the queen, but her ratings have been sliding, the New York Times reports. Her flagship show's average ratings have fallen 7% this year, continuing 3 straight years of slipping; her reality show, Oprah’s Big Give, lost about a third of its audience over the course of its single run. Meanwhile, O magazine has lost 10% of its circulation.

But a top lieutenant chalks up the losses to an overall decline in TV watching. And while some have linked her endorsement of Barack Obama to viewer defections, Tim Bennett notes that TV execs were fine with it. The Oprah Winfrey Show has been “the No. 1 talk show for 471 consecutive weeks,” says a CBS exec. “Obviously if you’re No. 1, you’re not in trouble.”