Update: Oprah’s ‘Plug Pull’ Official, O Teams With HBO

Oprah Winfrey’s speculated change in television became a fact Tuesday. According to HBO, the daytime mogul will end her longterm relationship with ABC and begin a new deal with HBO. The deal, which is a three year deal, moves Oprah’s production company to HBO where she will make movies, documentaries and TV series. In recent years Oprah’s specials on ABC have been watched my millions, including the 2005 television adaptation of ‘Their Eyes Were Watching God,’ starring Halle Berry. Kate Forte, head of Harpo Films, said Tuesday that Winfrey’s company wanted to make a more eclectic mix of programming than was available on broadcast TV, working with people who did not like the restrictions of commercial interruptions. She would not detail any of the future projects. Winfrey has worked at ABC for 15 years, and her “Oprah Winfrey Presents” series has focused largely on movies positive or inspirational in tone. The most recent was an adaptation from a Mitch Albom book, “For One More Day,” about a drunk about to commit suicide who is saved by the ghost of his mother. ABC wanted to extend the deal, but Harpo Films believed HBO was a better fit, Forte said. “This is really a dream come true for us,” she said. The premium cable network doesn’t usually make such individual deals with production companies, but network co-president Richard Plepler said that “Oprah personifies excellence and quality in everything she does.” Oprah’s deal for OWN, the Oprah Winfrey Network, which is to become part of Discovery Communications, is on course to launch next year under a separate agreement.


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