Oprah's Last Season: Will TV Ever be the Same?

Oprah Winfrey pledges to take audience to Australia on 25th season premiere.

September 13, 2010, 1:35 AM

Sept. 13, 2010— -- It's the beginning of the end of an era. And it started with a bang.

The audience for today's 25th and final season premiere of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" was treated to the news that Winfrey is sending them all on on an all-expenses-paid eight-day trip to Australia.

The supersized top secret surprise was presented with the help of John Travolta, who stepped out of a mocked up Qantas Airlines jet to help make the announcement.

"I started to think about where would I most want to go. Maybe I should take all of you with me to the other side of the world ... We're going to Australia! We are going to Australia! You and you and you and you, are going to Australia!" the talk show queen said, sparking euphoric cheers, and even some tears, from the already keyed up studio audience.

And that's just day one in a season that promises a big endeavor.

They are going through 5,000 hours of footage and have stories from 70,000 viewers to comb through from people who say the show has impacted their lives in a major way.

"This is my last chance to do something really big!!" Oprah said.

Winfrey said her intention is be fully present this season and to take in every experience and feel it all.

"I don't intend to be crying the whole season," she told TV Guide. "The only time I get really emotional and nostalgic about the show is when I think about the viewers."

Forbes named her the most powerful celebrity this year for the fourth time.

The media mogul is worth an estimated $2.4 billion -- books and products with her blessing fly off the shelves and she's launched countless careers.

'Oprah Winfrey Show' Final Season

Oprah's departure will create a seismic shift in daytime television, leaving a giant hole in the schedules of many stations around the country.

"Given Oprah airs at 4 p.m. in most markets she provides an incredible lead in for local newscasts," said Meeta Agrawal with Entertainment Weekly. "There is going to be a real kind of land grab in the real estate that she occupies."

But on Jan. 1, the legend will continue with her OWN ? The Oprah Winfrey Network which is expected to reach 70 million homes.

"It's a huge deal from Oprah to go to her own incredibly successful show to going to having her own network that she is putting her name on," said Agrawal. "She is taking a big gamble on this."

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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