Oprah Winfery has called it quits on her daily talk show, and has jumped into her new project; the Oprah Winfrey Network, and she's calling on her best friend Gayle to play a role in the new network's success.

NEW YORK — Gayle King is guzzling pear juice.

No, wait.

She's done with that. Now she's opening a bottle of something green called Mellow Love.

"They give it a fancy title," she confides. "Let's see what's in it. Cucumber, celery, spinach, parsley … I drink six of these a day — with different flavors."

Not every day. Just today. Explains King, as she tugs on her form-fitting navy dress, "I'm on my cleanse after Australia. I was a pig!"

King, 56, isn't shy about sharing. There's nothing guarded about her. She doesn't need a team of publicists to sit in on an interview and lay down ground rules. She is a confident, curious, opinionated force of nature, not unlike her best pal Oprah Winfrey, who took King along Down Under in December with 300 Oprah Winfrey Show audience members.

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Where Winfrey goes, King often follows. They've been friends since 1976. And when you spend time with King, you realize why Winfrey described her in that recent teary Barbara Walters interview as "the sister everybody would want."

King, who majored in psychology and sociology at the University of Maryland, can talk non-stop about anything, as she does every day with her Gayle King Show radio audience. She zooms through topics from Don't Ask, Don't Tell to Lindsay Lohan's rehab to superglue mishaps. Whatever King finds interesting, she'll throw out on the air, giving her opinion, asking callers for theirs, bringing in a guest (she often gets Oprah on the line) to give another point of view.

It is that instant feeling of accessibility that has helped make King a success on radio. The Gayle King Show has aired on SiriusXM/Oprah Radio since 2006. (It's also syndicated by Westwood One to terrestrial stations.) And on Monday, the second hour of the show will be televised on the new Oprah Winfrey Network, OWN, which launched Jan. 1. The network is off to a good ratings start. It averaged 1 million primetime viewers on Saturday and 846,000 Sunday, according to preliminary Nielsen figures, a sharp increase from the 242,000 that predecessor Discovery Health averaged in primetime last fall. The Gayle King Show will be the only live show in the OWN programming lineup.

"She's a warm and engaging and likable girlfriend to everybody, and I think she's found her sweet spot with a daytime radio show," Winfrey tells USA TODAY. "I think if we can capture the essence of the radio show on television you'll have something very successful and something the audience responds to."