WLS to Develop Oprah Replacement

WLS, the ABC-owned TV station in Chicago that gave birth to The Oprah Winfrey Show, is hoping to do it again.
When Oprah ends her syndicated broadcast show in September 2011, WLS is planning to launch a new, live program under the working title Morning Rush.
Plans for the new program, which would air in Oprah’s slot at 9 a.m. and feature a live, studio audience, are still in the early stages of development.
But don’t expect the new program to be an Oprah clone. “We want to go in a completely different direction. We want to do something that feels lighter rather than heavier, fun without being too silly, smart without feeling too sophisticated,” Barr told Chicago blogger Robert Feder, who broke the news Tuesday (July 20).
Hundreds of stations across the country will need to find a replacement for Oprah, which was syndicated by CBS Television Distribution. Some stations, which aired the show in late afternoon, are already making plans to start to extend their early newscasts. Other stations will no doubt shuffle schedules or pick up another syndicated show.
Winfrey’s new cable venture with Discovery Networks, The Oprah Winfrey Network, is set to launch next year, replacing the Discovery Health Channel.