Anyone tuned into food TV knows Rachael Ray can wax poetic about EVOO (Extra-Virgin Olive Oil) and whip up a meal to make mom proud in less than 30 minutes. But the princess in Winfrey's Harpo empire has been angling for status outside the kitchen for years. She started her syndicated daytime talk show, "Rachael Ray," in 2006 after signing a deal with Winfrey and her production company. Since then, Ray's forayed far from food and into fields familiar to "Oprah's" audience, like beauty, health, and fashion. Her profile's not quite high enough yet, but if Winfrey wants to keep talk show dominance in the family, Ray's the woman to promote. Chance of taking over O territory: 8 out of 10.
Supermodel Tyra Banks long ago proved that her prowess extends beyond the runway. After pioneering the hit reality TV series "America's Next Top Model," she dove into the talk-show deep end, launching "The Tyra Banks Show" in 2005 and winning two daytime Emmys with it. In December, she announced she's cutting the lights on her talk show come spring to "allow me to reach more women and young girls to help us all feel as fierce as we truly are." Insiders claim Banks plans to do that by producing films, but could she perhaps be taking time off to produce a bigger, badder talk show than Winfrey herself can imagine? It could happen. Chance of taking over O territory: 6 out of 10.
Sure, Conan O'Brien's got a live tour to keep him busy for now, but what's on his calendar for next fall? He's reportedly talking with Fox about starting up his schtick on their network, but that's anything but a done deal. Going from late night to daytime TV would be the career move of the century, and a way to ensure that Jay Leno doesn't tread on his time slot. Unfortunately for his fans, the masturbating bear probably wouldn't be able to make the jump. Chance of taking over O territory: 1 out of 10.