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Oprah's next ratings jackpot? Shaquan Duley's jailhouse chat

March 27, 2012 | 11:08 am

Oprah Winfrey traveled to Orangeburg, S.C., last week to tape a jailhouse interview with Shaquan Duley, the 30-year-old mother who killed her two young boys and attempted to cover up the crime  by driving their bodies into a river in August 2010.

Duley pleaded guilty to murder charges and is in jail awaiting sentencing, which is expected to occur on Friday. She faces 30 years to life.

According to the Associated Press, the interview will air on April 1 as part of Winfrey's prime time series "Oprah's Next Chapter." The hope is that the exclusive interview will pay off for the media mogul's struggling OWN network, which saw its biggest ratings to date when Winfrey aired her exclusive interview with Whitney Houston's teenage daughter, Bobbi Kristina, earlier this month. The interview grabbed 3.5 million viewers.

Despite restructuring and a recent round of layoffs and one report by consulting firm SNL Kagan that said OWN could lose $142.9 million in 2012 (a report OWN's parent, Discovery Communications disputed), Winfrey is pushing ahead with a series of high-profile interviews.

Next up? She's made it known on Twitter that she's seeking to talk to George Zimmerman, the Florida man who shot teenager Trayvon Martin and has become the focal point of a national controversy.

"Trying to get an interview with Zimmerman," she wrote last week. "Don't you want to hear him speak the truth? Do you think he will?"

A Zimmerman interview would definitely result in huge ratings. And as everyone knows, Oprah Winfrey almost always gets what she wants.


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-- Patrick Kevin Day

Photo: Oprah Winfrey. Credit: Andrew H. Walker / Getty Images