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27 Jul 2010

Chatshow queen Oprah Winfrey has offered the scandal-hit Duchess of York her own prime-time programme.

Billionaire businesswoman Oprah is expanding her empire to launch her own cable channel in 2011 and has offered Sarah Ferguson a deal.

Fergie has made a number of appearances on the presenter's programmes, most recently on May 28 when she apologised for asking for £500,000 for access to her ex-husband Prince Andrew.

The Duchess is struggling with debts of £2m and she still lives with the Prince at his official resident Royal Lodge in Windsor.

In 2009 an umbrella firm for her businesses in the US collapsed with debts of £650,000.

A source close to her told the Mail on Sunday: "Oprah made the call this week. They spoke in person and, for Sarah, the offer is a ray of light at the end of a very dark tunnel.

"Oprah has known Sarah for some time and the Duchess went on Oprah's show to explain herself after her most recent scandal.

"Oprah has always been impressed by Sarah's ability to pick herself up and reinvent herself."

During Fergie's appearance in May she admitted she had been drunk when she was taped by an undercover reporter accepting the money.

She told the US host: "I was not in the right place. I haven't faced the devil in the face because I was in the gutter at that moment."

Prince Andrew said he knew nothing about his former wife's cash-for-access plan and £27,000 has now been paid back.

The Duchess has spent a lot of time trying to reignite her career and image in the US where she feels more accepted by the public.

In May she received an award in Los Angeles for her charity work with underprivileged and disabled children.

The Oprah Winfrey Network is due to be launched in January.

The Oprah Winfrey Show will end next year after 25 years despite being the highest-rated talkshow in the US.


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