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Oprah losing small screen lustre?

tv Updated: Jul 18, 2009 16:32 IST

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Oprah Winfrey’s show has recently recorded the lowest ever ratings, raising doubts whether the talk-show queen has lost her lustre.

The ratings for The Oprah Winfrey Show during the week ending on July 5 were the lowest since the talk show's debut in 1983, averaging only a 3.2 household rating, according to Medialifemagazine.com.

And it is believed that the dip in viewers was because it was a holiday weekend during the peak of cable coverage of Michael Jackson's death.

In addition, the Wimbledon tennis tournament was on the air, and ‘Oprah’ has been in repeats all summer. However, the slip in rating was not a sudden nosedive, because viewership has actually been declining for months.

The week before, the show received a 3.6 rating, matching its previous all-time low approximately a year ago. The media mogul's talk show is still the No 1 in TV and was the No 2 show in syndication for the week.

But the big concern for Oprah is whether this dip in ratings is just a temporary trend, or an indication that Winfrey''s dominance is coming to an end.

‘Oprah’ has earlier dealt with occasional ratings drop over its 23-year run, including in October 2008, when it was alleged that viewers drifted away because of her outspoken support of Barack Obama''s presidential campaign.

Daily Telegraph reported that critics claimed that a large proportion of the talk show's viewers are white, middle-aged women who likely supported Hillary Clinton or voted Republican.

But, it is still early to say Oprah's show is on its last legs. TVweek has speculated that ‘Oprah's Summer Giveaway’, a three-month-long watch-and-win promotional contest, may lure viewers to tune into the show's syndicated episodes before the new season premiers on September 14.