The Oprah Winfrey Show Begins

In 1983, Winfrey relocated to Chicago to host WLS-TV's low-rated half-hour morning talk-show, AM Chicago.

The first episode aired on January 2, 1984. Within months after Winfrey took over, the show went from last place in the ratings to overtaking Donahue as the highest rated talk show in Chicago. It was renamed The Oprah Winfrey Show, expanded to a full hour, and broadcast nationally beginning September 8, 1986. On her 20th anniversary show, Oprah revealed that movie critic Roger Ebert was the one who persuaded her to sign a syndication deal with King World. Ebert predicted that she would generate 40 times as much revenue as his television show, At the Movies. Already having surpassed Donahue in the local market, Winfrey's syndicated show quickly doubled his national audience, displacing Donahue as the number one day-time talk show in America. Their much publicized contest was the subject of enormous scrutiny.

The Oprah Winfrey Show (often simply referred to as Oprah or simply just O) is a United States syndicated talk show, hosted and produced by its namesake Oprah Winfrey, and is the highest-rated talk show in American television history. It is currently the longest-running daytime television talk show in the United States, having run nationally since September 8, 1986, for over 22 seasons and 3,724 episodes November 21, 2008. The show is renewed through 2011, but in a 2007 interview with Larry King, Oprah said that in 2011, she will not renew her contract, thus ending the show. The show, a production of Harpo Productions, is the last program currently on the air to be distributed by King World (only the name is mentioned in the Friday show's distribution credits), even though the latter company has been absorbed by CBS Television Distribution.