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Oprah charts comeback with big-name interviews (+video)

Oprah Winfrey is working to revive her OWN channel with more celebrity interviews, including the Kardashians. But Katie Couric is also vying for big-name interviews.

By David BauderAssociated Press / June 22, 2012

Talk show host Oprah Winfrey posing with Paris Jackson, daughter of the late pop icon Michael Jackson in Los Angeles. Winfrey interviewed Jackson for an "Oprah's Next Chapter," special which aired on June 10 on OWN.

(AP Photo/Harpo Inc., George Burns)

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Since Oprah Winfrey packed up the couch that Tom Cruise jumped on and ended her daytime talk show last year, no one has truly filled her role as the top go-to person in television for major celebrity and news interviews.

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Now someone is trying to claim that spot — and would you believe it's Oprah again?

Faced with the potential failure of her money-pit cable network OWN, Winfrey is working the phones hard to secure big-name interviews for her show, "Oprah's Next Chapter." Back-to-back episodes last Sunday featured the Kardashian family and rapper 50 Cent, and the Kardashians will be back this weekend. Michael Jackson's daughter Paris and the late Whitney Houston's family made news with their interviews in recent weeks.

IN PICTURES: Oprah through the years

The open question is whether she can have the same cultural impact on a smaller stage. Winfrey's daytime talk show was generally seen by around 6 million people in her final years; "Oprah's Next Chapter" with the Kardashians was seen by 1.1 million viewers, according to the Nielsen company.

"I am sure that people have a conversation about that when they are exploring their options," said Sheri Salata, OWN president. "The one constant we have ... is that you have the opportunity to sit down with Oprah."

Winfrey's daytime show wasn't all about interviews, of course. But in her last few seasons, she sat down for conversations with the likes of Tina Fey, Elizabeth Edwards, Michelle Obama, Madonna, Denzel Washington, Jerry Seinfeld, Richard Branson and Beyonce.

The audience was primarily women but, as Cruise proved with his eager declarations of love for Katie Holmes in 2005, the cultural impact could spread beyond the afternoon.

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