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Not even Oprah Winfrey's own partners know what she'll do

March 23, 2010 |  5:27 pm

Oprah Winfrey is full of surprises.

Early Tuesday afternoon, Discovery Communications told Company Town that the talk-show diva would not join them at a big presentation to advertisers in Chicago held to promote Discovery's cable channels -- including the Oprah Winfrey Network, a joint venture between Discovery and Winfrey set to launch next January. The cable programming giant went as far as to say that Winfrey's presence in Chicago -- which is where she lives and tapes her talk show -- was never expected at the event.

Guess what: Winfrey showed up after all.

According to OWN and Discovery, Winfrey decided Tuesday afternoon to make an appearance at the last minute. She alerted OWN's staff at 4:07 p.m., seven minutes after the advertisers event was underway, that she intended to swing by. Arriving only 10 minutes later, Winfrey was led to a seat and even had a spotlight shone on her and waved to the assembled executives.

Even better news for Discovery is that a potentially time-consuming defamation lawsuit against Winfrey was settled out of court this afternoon, shortly before she was scheduled to testify in the trial. Winfrey had been accused of defamation by Lerato Nomvuyo Mzamane, the former headmaster of Winfrey's school in South Africa. Winfrey's testimony could have prevented her from making an appearance at Discovery's bigger presentation to advertisers next month. OWN already issued a statement saying she was unlikely to be at the New York shindig, but now says she will be there.

For our own sake, we'll wait until the event is well underway to report on whether Winfrey is there, rather than take the word of the folks at OWN and Discovery.

-- Joe Flint