x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 16 January 2018

Oprah's successor? It's still up for grabs

The big celebrity interview requires a big host - and since Oprah moved on, no one's really taken her place.

Since Oprah Winfrey ended her talk show last year, no one has truly filled her role as the go-to person for major celebrity interviews. Now someone is trying to claim that spot - and would you believe it's Oprah again?

Faced with the potential failure of her money-pit cable network OWN, Winfrey is working the phones to secure big-name interviews for her show, Oprah's Next Chapter. Recent weeks featured the Kardashian family, Michael Jackson's daughter Paris and the late Whitney Houston's family.

The question is whether she can have the same cultural impact on a smaller stage. Winfrey's daytime show was generally seen by around six million people in her final years; Oprah's Next Chapter with the Kardashians was seen by 1.1 million.

Ellen DeGeneres is probably the leading personality in daytime now, but her show is about entertainment. Dr Phil and Anderson Cooper get some interviews, as do The View and The Talk. None has the impact that Winfrey had on a consistent basis.

Also missing from the scene is CNN's Larry King. His replacement, Piers Morgan, is not as established and is dragged down by CNN's ratings problems. Katie Couric, whose daytime talk show starts in the autumn, could be Winfrey's true heir. Her lengthy tenure at NBC's Today show makes her able to deftly switch from world leaders to actors to quirky celebrities enjoying 15 minutes of fame. * AP