Oprah Winfrey's best pal Gayle King says she's still trying to "wrap her head around" the daytime talk show host's announcement that she will end her show in 2011.
"I'm going to have a brief period of bereavement," King, 54, told Usmagazine.com at Monday's opening of FELA! on Broadway in New York City. "I'm very saddened by it. Even though I knew it was coming, when she said the words it was very difficult to hear."
On Nov. 20, Winfrey tearfully announced the next season of her syndicated Oprah Winfrey Show will be her last, coming to the decision "after much prayer and months of careful thought."
"You have all invited me into your lives," Winfrey, who premiered the show in 1986, told viewers. "We've grown together. I want you all to know that my relationship with you is one that I hold very dear. Your trust in me, your sharing your precious time with me…has brought me the greatest joy that I have ever known."
Still, King — who says she'd "for sure" work on her pal's new OWN Network if they'll have her — reminds fans there is still a full season of The Oprah Winfrey Show to look forward to before its swan song Sept. 9, 2011.
There is no word yet on if Winfrey will uproot her operations from Chicago to California, where her new venture is headquartered and where she owns a home.
"The good news is we still get another season of Oprah," King enthuses to Us. "She's not leaving yet! Though when she does there's going to be a big hole, for me, for a lot of 4 o'clock. I believe that Oprah really cannot be replaced."
The Oprah Winfrey Show was named one of the best television series of the 20th century in 1998 by Time magazine; TV Guide hailed it as one of the top 50 greatest American shows of all time in 2002.
For access to all our exclusive celebrity videos and interviews – Subscribe on YouTube!