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New Show: Oprah Expands Her TV Image

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Oprah Winfrey, who reportedly shelled out $20 million to help launch the Oxygen cable channel, will star on the network in an original daily half-hour prime-time addendum to her popular syndicated talk show. The program, kicking off on Sept. 16, will be called “Oprah After the Show,” according to the Associated Press, and will air weeknights at 7:30 p.m. ET and be rerun at 10 p.m., 11:30 p.m. and 8:30 a.m. the following day. The talk-show queen plans to tape the Oxygen show every day after she finishes her daytime one. “We’re going to kick off our shoes, take questions from the audience and see where the conversation takes us,” Winfrey, 48, said in a statement. The deal is being viewed as a means for the mogul — whose media empire, Harpo Inc., was valued at nearly $1 billion by Fortune magazine in April (Fortune, like PEOPLE, is part of AOL Time Warner) — to help protect her 25 percent stake in the 4-year-old Oxygen. As part of her investment,she reportedly ended up giving Oxygen exclusive rights to air reruns of her talk show, which were to begin this fall. “I would rather have put $100 million into Oxygen and kept my shows than put $20 million (into the channel) and given (the shows) away,” she told Fortune. The new deal allows her to keep her reruns, and the new program may actually allow her to expand her already massive audience. “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, told the AP on Tuesday. “We’re going to give people a chance to see Oprah.”