Oprah Winfrey's the best friend and editor at large of "O" magazine doesn't know what's next for the talk show queen, and while she understands that fans are saddened about the ending of the show, she says they shouldn't be sad for Winfrey herself.
"After 25 years, it's just time to go while you're on top," Gayle King said on "Good Morning America" today. "It really was as simple as that and, maybe have a semblance of a life.
"Hey listen, no pity party for Oprah, because she has a great life, does wonderful things, but you know, at the end of the day it really is her life …," she added.
Winfrey, who built a billion-dollar media empire, announced last week that she would end her hugely popular afternoon talk show in 2011, after a 25-season run.
In the emotional address to her loyal viewers at a taping of her show on Friday, Winfrey said the time was right.
"Twenty-five years feels right in my bones, and it feels right in my spirit. It's the perfect number -- the exact right time," she said.
King said she wasn't sure what was next for her friend.
"I don't even think she knows," she said, of Oprah's future after the show. "She's riding off from 'The Oprah Winfrey Show' as we know it, but she's not riding off into the sunset."
As for the speculation about who will replace the talk show queen, King said there was "no replacement" for her friend.
"She is so much a part of the culture that we have to come up with a new model, a new way of doing things ...," King said, adding when asked that she didn't see herself filling Oprah's shoes. "I'm happy because I know for her it's the right decision … she's so at peace with it."
Winfrey's plans to end her show have left her many fans devastated. But executives in industries ranging from publishing to television to mom-and-pop stationery stores are also feeling a bit teary-eyed -- because, aside from being a TV mega-celebrity, Oprah Winfrey has been a big moneymaker for a lot of people.
"It definitely has a huge impact. I don't think stations will be closing up business, but there is concern," said Marc Berman, a television analyst with Mediaweek. The impact will primarily be felt at ABC, because the syndicated talk show aired predominantly on local ABC stations across the country.
Last week the program averaged 6.5 million viewers, making it the No. 1 daytime television talk show. Many viewers tended to stick around to watch the local news on the ABC stations on which Oprah aired. That meant bigger audiences for the news shows, which meant more revenue from ad sales.
If the post-Oprah television landscape is in a state of flux, the publishing industry is positively reeling at the thought that Oprah's Book Club may not survive the talk show's demise.
In 1996, the book club started as a small feature on "The Oprah Winfrey Show." Constance Sayre was a publishing executive at the time.
"I remember the first book. Nobody knew what to make of it, and I think they sold 750,000 copies, and everybody in publishing positively stuttered," said Sayre.
Sayre, now at Market Partners International, a book-publishing consulting firm, said it's hard to overestimate the impact of the "Oprah Effect" on the bottom line. "It means a lot no matter who you are, whether you are Random House or someone much smaller. … If you took those sales away, some of the publishers may not make any profit," said Sayre.