On Thursday night, media outlets erupted with the news that TV host-cum-media mogul Oprah Winfrey is planning to retire from her show once her contract expires in 2011. The Oprah Winfrey Show began in Chicago in 1985 and has gone on to become the highest rated daytime talk show in American history. Winfrey had intended to leave network TV long before Thursday and reneged, but recent reports confirmed she was leaving to focus on managing her also-eponymous cable network OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network. First reactions came in two distinct groups: sincere and sarcastic.

EARNEST REACTIONS

  • 'What's Next for Oprah?' asks Lisa Todorovich at True/Slant. She thinks Oprah has a lot of options to pick from for her next move: "She could spend more time at her leadership academy in Africa -- and on building others. Or work with the Gates Foundation on education. She could become a UN Goodwill Ambassador. Join the Obama administration. Or build a house with bricks made of money. Or she could just keep the show -- on cable."
  • Cable Celebrity Time's James Poniewozik reminds readers the end of Orpah's network program doesn't mean the end of her career as a host: "I'll believe the end of Oprah as a TV broadcaster when I see it. Oprah may be ending her syndication deal, which is rough for her syndicator, CBS TV Distribution. (The New York Times says she is not bringing her show to cable.) But if Oprah Winfrey decides at any time henceforth that she wants to have a TV show, are you going to refuse her one?"
  • 'Good for You, Oprah' says Curt Wagner at Chicago Now: "Good for her, I say. I'm not sure I could host a talker for 25 years, no matter how much I like to yak. I think Winfrey's been ready to hang up the mic for years to pursue other interests and make billions of more dollars. Seriously, why run a syndicated talk show when you can run an entire network?"

...LESS THAN EARNEST
  • Considerations for Employees True/Slant's Michael Roston gives Oprah's soon-to-be unemployed production crew the career advice that is offered on the show's website: "Helpfully, there is some advice endorsed by Oprah.com on what to do once Harpo Productions shitcans you. First, make sure you write a good resume and cover letter. Once you've down that, here's Jean Chatzky's advice on how to find the right job. Also, how to find a job in a lousy economy - like this one!And if those don't work out, you can always take a sabbatical. "
  • Forget OWN, ESPN is Next "I'm betting she signs with the Jets and the Vikings before really quitting," says Balloon Juice blogger John Cole, comparing Winfrey to NFL quarterback Brett Favre.
  • TV Totalitarian "Oprah ends a 25 year run that puts hers up with Fidel Castro and Muammar al-Gaddafi as one of the most durable dictatorships of our age." jests Richard Rushfield at Gawker