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Oprah Winfrey Seeks $1 Million 30-Second Ads, Horizon Says

Television Personality Oprah Winfrey
Oprah Winfrey arrives at OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network's 2011 TCA Winter Press Tour Cocktail Party at the Horseshoe Gardens at the Langham Hotel on Jan. 6, 2011 in Pasadena, California. Photographer: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

“The Oprah Winfrey Show” is seeking $1 million for 30-second commercials during the program’s May 25 finale, according to Horizon Media Inc., a New York-based advertising company.

At that price, the advertisements would set a record for a nonsports daytime broadcast, Brad Adgate, director of research at Horizon, said today in an e-mail.

Oprah Winfrey is departing her afternoon talk show, which is distributed by CBS Corp., to focus on a cable channel she started with Discovery Communications Inc., based in Silver Spring, Maryland. The 24-hour Oprah Winfrey Network began in January with programs including “The Gayle King Show,” “The Judds,” “Kidnapped by the Kids” and “Addicted to Food.” Comedian Rosie O’Donnell will start a show after August.

“The final episode of ‘Oprah’ -- in fact the final weeks of ‘Oprah’ -- will be a TV event,” Leslie Ryan, a CBS spokeswoman, said today in an e-mail. CBS, based in New York, declined to comment on the $1 million asking price, she said.

Lisa Halliday, a spokeswoman for Harpo Inc., Winfrey’s Chicago-based production company, didn’t respond to requests for comment. The ad rate was reported April 4 in Brandweek magazine.

CBS, owner of the most-watched U.S. television network, fell 13 cents to $24.31 at 4:15 p.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. The shares have gained 28 percent this year.

“Lost,” on Walt Disney Co.’s ABC broadcast network, commanded $900,000 for 30-second commercials during its May 23, 2010 finale, said Horizon Media, citing data from Nielsen Co. and Kantar Media. News Corp.’s Fox charged $650,000 for ads the next day for the finale of “24.”

Highest-Priced Finales

Finales of some prime-time scripted shows have commanded higher ad rates, according to Horizon. NBC’s “Friends” drew $2 million per 30-second commercial in 2004 and the network’s “Seinfeld” got $1.42 million in 1998, the company said. CBS’s “Everyone Loves Raymond” reached $1.22 million per commercial in 2005, according to Horizon Media.

“Like the Super Bowl or the finales of ‘Friends’ or ’Frasier,’ advertisers are always anxious to be part of event shows and the huge ratings they garner,” Ryan said.

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