LOS ANGELES – Oprah Winfrey (search) can start making big anniversary plans. Winfrey signed with King World Productions (search) to continue her top-rated "The Oprah Winfrey Show" through the 2010-11 television season, which would be its 25th year in syndication.
"The thought of taking the show to its 25th anniversary is both exhilarating and challenging," Winfrey said.
Just last year, Winfrey extended her contract by two more years, taking her through the 2007-2008. Previously, though, Winfrey, had talked about quitting after the 2005-2006 season.
Winfrey, 50, routinely appears on lists of Hollywood's most powerful figures and, in 2003, became the first black woman to be included on Forbes magazine's tally of billionaires.
Her new three-year contract, announced Thursday by Winfrey's Harpo Productions (search) and King World, calls for more Winfrey each year: Starting with the 2004-05 season, the number of new episodes will increase from 130 to 140.
The expanded production will hold through the 2009-10 season, but drop back to 130 episodes for the last year of the contract.
The Chicago-based program, which showcases Winfrey and A-list celebrity guests, continues to be a ratings powerhouse and has ranked first among talk shows for 71 consecutive "sweeps" periods.
In the last sweeps window of intense ratings measurement, the series posted its highest rating in seven years among households and women aged 18 to 54, King World said.
The talk show has already been renewed through 2011 on major owned-and-operated ABC stations in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Raleigh-Durham and Fresno, Calif.
The program airs on more than 200 U.S. stations and is distributed to more than 100 other countries.