Oprah's prime-time show may breathe new life into Oxygen

— Oprah Winfrey will star in a prime-time coda to her talk show on the Oxygen cable channel as part of a deal that also strengthens her control over her legacy.

The program, "Oprah After the Show," will air weeknights at 6:30 p.m. CDT, and be rerun at 9 p.m., 10:30 p.m. and 7:30 a.m. the next day. It will debut Sept. 16.

"Oprah After the Show" will be taped each day when she finishes her syndicated talk show.

"We're going to kick off our shoes, take questions from the audience and see where the conversation takes us," Winfrey said.

"There are a tremendous number of working women who never really have a chance to watch Oprah during the day," Geraldine Laybourne, Oxygen's CEO, said Tuesday. "We're going to give people a chance to see Oprah."

Winfrey's arrangement with Oxygen has the potential of being very lucrative for the woman whose media empire, Harpo Inc., was valued at nearly $1 billion by Fortune magazine this spring.

Winfrey fans eager to see "Oprah After the Show" may pressure cable operators who don't offer Oxygen to add the channel to its systems, said Bill Carroll, an analyst for Katz Television, a media buying firm.

That would make Oxygen more valuable to its investors � who include Winfrey.

"It's a win-win situation," Laybourne said.

The Oxygen show can serve as a prime-time promotional vehicle for her talk show, which has dominated the daytime ratings for several years. A spokeswoman for Harpo would not comment on the deal, first reported in The Washington Post.

The arrangement also gives Winfrey control over how her library of old shows will be used in the future. Those tapes will only increase in value when her talk show goes off the air, Carroll said. Winfrey has said she will quit producing new talk shows in 2006.

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