The Oprah Winfrey Show

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The Oprah Winfrey Show
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{{about|the television show|the host|Oprah Winfrey}}

| list_episodes = | executive_producer = | producer = | editor = | show_name = The Oprah Winfrey ShowHarpo Productions>Harpo StudiosChicago, Illinoismultiple-camera setup>Multiple| runtime = 40-45WLS-TV(1986–1988)(seasons 1–3)Harpo Productions(1988–2010)(seasons 3–24)Harpo Productions>Harpo Studios(2010–2011)(season 25)| distributor = King World Productions(1986–2007)(seasons 1–22)CBS Television Distribution(2007–2011)(seasons 22–25)broadcast syndication>Syndicated, ABC O&Os and Affiliates480i standard-definition television>SDTV720p high-definition television (American Broadcasting Company>ABC and Fox Broadcasting Company affiliates)1080i HDTV (CBS, NBC and some American Broadcasting Company>ABC affiliates)multichannel television sound>MTS stereo| first_run = Oprah's Lifeclass'Super Soul Sunday'Oprah Prime>Oprah's Next Chapter(Oprah: Where Are They Now?)| website =weblink| production_website = }}The Oprah Winfrey Show, often referred to simply as Oprah, is an American syndicated talk show that aired nationally for 25 seasons from September 8, 1986, to May 25, 2011, in Chicago, Illinois. Produced and hosted by its namesake, Oprah Winfrey, it remains the highest-rated daytime talk show in American television history.JOURNAL, Rose, Lacey, January 29, 2009, America's Top-Earning Black Stars, Forbes,weblink May 23, 2012, The show was highly influential, and many of its topics have penetrated into the American pop-cultural consciousness. Winfrey used the show as an educational platform, featuring book clubs, interviews, self-improvement segments, and philanthropic forays into world events. The show did not attempt to profit off the products it endorses; it had no licensing agreement with retailers when products were promoted, nor did the show make any money from endorsing books for its book club.NEWS, Carr, David,weblink The Media Equation – Oprah Winfrey’s Success Owes to Decisions That Avoided Common Traps, The New York Times, November 22, 2009, May 26, 2011, Oprah had its roots in A.M. Chicago, a half-hour morning talk show airing on WLS-TV, an ABC owned-and-operated station in Chicago. Winfrey took over as host on January 2, 1984 and, within a month, took it from last place to first place in local Chicago ratings.WEB,weblink Oprah Winfrey's Official Biography, May 17, 2011, Web,, June 26, 2012, Following Winfrey's success in—and Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations for-her performance as Sofia in the film The Color Purple, on September 8, 1986, the talk show was relaunched under its current title and picked up nationally.WEB,weblink 'The Oprah Winfrey Show' to End September 2011,, November 20, 2009, May 26, 2011, For the premiere, the show's producers tried rigorously to book Miami Vice's Don Johnson as the first guest, even trying to bribe him with Dom Pérignon and a pair of rhinestone sunglasses. All attempts to book Johnson failed and Winfrey decided to "do what we do best, and that is a show about and with everyday people". The topic for the premiere show was "How to Marry the Man or Woman of Your Choice".JOURNAL, 2011, The Big Premiere, O, The Oprah Magazine, Official Commemorative Edition, 14, Harpo Print, LLC, Oprah was one of the longest-running daytime television talk shows in history. The show received 47 Daytime Emmy Awards before Winfrey chose to stop submitting it for consideration in 2000.WEB,weblink 'The Oprah Winfrey Show': Trivia, January 1, 2006, Web,, June 26, 2012, In 2002, TV Guide ranked it at #49 on TV Guide{{'}}s 50 Greatest TV Shows of All Time.WEB,weblink TV Guide Names Top 50 Shows, CBS News, In 2013, they ranked it as the 19th greatest TV show of all time.JOURNAL, Fretts, Bruce, Roush, Matt, The Greatest Shows on Earth, TV Guide Magazine, 61, 3194-3195, 16–19, In November 2009, Winfrey announced that the show would conclude in 2011 following its 25th and final season. The series finale aired on May 25, 2011.


Winfrey interviewed a plethora of public figures and everyday people during the show's 25-year history. When celebrities and newsmakers were ready to share their most intimate secrets their first stop was Winfrey's couch and when a serious story hit, the Oprah show focused on putting a human face on the headlines.


Winfrey claims her worst interviewing experience was with Elizabeth Taylor in the show's second season. Just before the interview, Taylor asked Winfrey not to ask any questions about her relationships. Winfrey found this to be a challenge considering Taylor had been married seven times. Taylor returned to the show in 1992, apologized to Winfrey and told her that she was in excruciating back and hip pain at the time.WEB,weblink Elizabeth Taylor – Most Watch Oprah Shows, April 29, 2011,, June 26, 2012, On February 10, 1993, Winfrey sat down in a prime-time special broadcast with Michael Jackson, who had performed nine days earlier in the Super Bowl XXVII halftime show, for what would become the most-watched interview in television history. Jackson, an intensely private entertainer, had not given an interview in 14 years. The event was broadcast live from Jackson's Neverland Ranch and was watched by 90 million people worldwide result his recently studio album Dangerous on the top-ten charts. Jackson discussed missing out on a normal childhood and his strained relationship with his father, Joe Jackson. During the interview, Jackson attempted to dispel many of the rumors surrounding him and told Winfrey he suffered from the skin-pigment disorder known as vitiligo when asked about the change in the color of his skin. While admitting to getting a nose job, he denied all other plastic surgery rumors. Later in the interview, Jackson was joined by his close friend Elizabeth Taylor, her third appearance on the show.WEB,weblink Oprah Reflects on Her Interview with Michael Jackson, September 16, 2009, Web,, June 25, 2012, Winfrey's interview with Tom Cruise, which was broadcast on May 23, 2005, also gained notoriety. Cruise "jumped around the set, hopped onto a couch, fell rapturously to one knee and repeatedly professed his love for his then-girlfriend, Katie Holmes."NEWS, The New York Times,weblink How Personal Is Too Personal for a Star Like Tom Cruise?, Sharon, Waxman, Sharon Waxman, June 2, 2005, August 22, 2013, This scene quickly became part of American pop-cultural discourse and was heavily parodied in media.Celine Dion appeared on the show 28 times, the most of any celebrity, besides Gayle King, Winfrey's best friend, who appeared 141 times.JOURNAL, 2011, Repeat Attenders, Oprah Official Commemorative Edition, 69, Harpo Print, LLC., Winfrey also interviewed Chicago's "Guardian Angels" and Raymond Lear in 1988.

Notable guests

Winfrey interviewed Kathy Bray three weeks after her 10-year-old son, Scott, was accidentally killed by a friend who had found his father's gun. Viewers later commented that the interview changed their feelings about having guns in their homes.WEB,weblink Viewers' Choice, January 1, 2006, Web,, June 28, 2012, In the 1989–90 season, Truddi Chase—a woman who was diagnosed with dissociative identity disorder, having 92 distinct personalities—appeared on the show. Chase had been violently and sexually abused beginning at the age of two and said her old self ceased to exist after that. After introducing Chase, who was there to promote her book When Rabbit Howls, Winfrey unexpectedly broke down in tears while reading the teleprompter, relating her own childhood molestation to that of the guest. Unable to control herself, Winfrey repeatedly asked producers to stop filming.WEB,weblink Truddi Chase on Sexual Abuse and Multiple Personalities, May 21, 1990, Web,, June 26, 2012, Erin Kramp, a mother dying of breast cancer, appeared on the show in 1998. After realizing that her six-year-old daughter, Peyton, would have to grow up without her, Kramp began recording videotapes filled with motherly advice on everything from makeup tips to finding a husband. She also wrote letters and bought gifts for Peyton to open every Christmas and birthday she was gone. Kramp lost her battle with cancer on October 31, 1998. She had recorded over a hundred videos and audiotapes for her daughter.WEB,weblink In Memoriam – Erin Kramp, May 16, 2011, Web,, June 26, 2012, Jo Ann Compton's daughter Laurie Ann was stabbed to death in 1988—and a decade later, the mom was tangled in her grief. "I hope they're in the same hell I'm in." she said of her daughter's murderers on a 1998 show. Oprah brought in Dr. Phil to help Jo Ann. He asked her if she thought her daughter would want her to be in so much pain—and Compton said no. "Maybe the betrayal is focusing on the day of her death, rather than celebrating the event of her life.” Phil continued. "She lived for 18 vibrant years, and you focus on the day she died." After a moment, Compton uttered her breakthrough sentence: "I never thought of it that way." Later, she sobbed while revealing that she had been planning to end her life after the show. When Compton returned to the show in 2011, she had a new viewpoint on the daughter she lost: "She continues to stay alive every time I do something positive." Compton's surviving daughter, Cindy, said "She went from existing to living. It was an amazing transformation."WEB,weblink Jo Ann Compton's Profound Moment, May 13, 2011, Web,, June 28, 2012, In 2001, Winfrey met 11-year-old Mattie Stepanek, who was born with dysautonomic mitochondrial myopathy and wrote inspirational poetry he titled "Heartsongs." On the show, Stepanek stated, "A heartsong doesn't have to be a song in your heart. It doesn't have to be talking about love and peace. … It's your message, what you feel like you need to do."WEB,weblink Mattie Stepanek's Heartsongs, October 19, 2001, Web,, June 26, 2012, In October 2008, Winfrey spoke at the posthumous dedication of Mattie J.T Stepanek Park in Maryland.WEB,weblink Mattie’s Death & Legacy – Mattie J.T. Stepanek Foundation, Jennifer Smith Stepanek, April 23, 2012, December 13, 2014,

Regular segments and campaigns

Oprah's Book Club

Originally featured a monthly book highlight, including author interviews. Its popularity caused featured books to shoot to the top of bestseller lists, often increasing sales by as many as a million copies at its peak. It was suspended in 2002 and returned in 2003, featuring more classic works of literature, with reduced selections per season. The original format was reintroduced in September 2005, but Winfrey's selection of James Frey's A Million Little Pieces became controversial due to accusations of falsification. January 2006 saw Elie Wiesel's Night selected; Winfrey even traveled to Auschwitz with Wiesel. In 2008, Eckhart Tolle's A New Earth was selected. Modernizing the book club's platform, Winfrey and Tolle began a series of live webcast classes that were streamed on to discuss elements of the book with a worldwide audience.WEB,weblink A New Earth: Are You Ready to be Awakened?, January 30, 2008, Web,, June 25, 2012,

Oprah's Favorite Things

Items personally favored by Winfrey were featured on the show and given away to audience members. Since its launch in 1996, the "Favorite Things" episode quickly became the hottest ticket in television. When a product was featured, its sales skyrocketed. Select groups were sometimes chosen to receive the items. In 2004, the audience was made up of educators from across the country. Hurricane Katrina volunteer workers were invited to the 2005 show. Winfrey has said that the iPad, given away to her 2010 audience, was her all-time favorite "Favorite Thing". During a Season 25: Oprah Behind the Scenes episode documenting the production of the giveaway, Winfrey talked about why the event resonates with viewers:}}

Oprah & Gayle's Big Adventures

Winfrey and Gayle King are friends. In 1976, Winfrey was working as a news anchor in Baltimore when she met King, a production assistant. The two bonded during a snowstorm when Winfrey told King she could stay at her home to wait it out. Their friendship was often showcased on the show when the best friends decided to take a trip together.In 2004, they traveled back in time, participating in the PBS series Colonial House. The series intended to recreate daily life in Plymouth Colony in 1628. Their 24-hour Puritan adventure included wood-chopping, cooking over an open fire, battling with mice, and using leaves as toilet paper.WEB,weblink Oprah and Gayle: Back in Time, October 29, 2010, Web,, June 28, 2012, Winfrey and King joined 60 other women for a spa getaway in 2006. They spent five days at Miraval Life in Balance Resort and Spa taking part in self-improvement exercises. For an exercise called A Swing and a Prayer, the women were hoisted 40 feet in the air and told to let go. Once in the air, King—who is afraid of heights—wouldn't let herself fall. Winfrey couldn't help but laugh as King remained in the air, but eventually persuaded her to let go.WEB,weblink Oprah and Gayle's Big Spa Adventure, October 29, 2010, Web,, June 28, 2012, In the summer of 2006, Winfrey and King decided to go on an 11-day, 3,600-mile road trip across America – from California to New York. They were excited to meet people from small towns and see how America really lives. However, the initial excitement quickly wore off. The friends had minor meltdowns and fought for control over the radio; King likes to have music constantly playing while driving, Winfrey prefers silence. Despite the challenges of the road trip, they got to see the beauty of Sedona, meet the people of Navajo Nation, crash a couple of weddings, take a dip in the healing waters of Pagosa Springs, and learn about Amish culture. Winfrey's many driving anxieties and King's tone-deaf singing made the trip a huge hit with viewers.WEB,weblink Oprah and Gayle's Road Trip, October 29, 2010, Web,, June 28, 2012, The friends visited the State Fair of Texas in 2009. They played traditional state fair games like Flip-the-Chick and the water gun race. They tried many of the fried foods offered at the fair and judged a best "Best of Show" food contest.WEB,weblink Oprah and Gayle's New Adventure: The Biggest State Fair in Texas, October 29, 2010, Web,, June 28, 2012, For the farewell season, the best friends hit the road again for an overnight camping trip at Yosemite National Park. Park ranger Shelton Johnson wrote to Winfrey because he was concerned by the low number of African-Americans who visited the national parks each year. So Winfrey and King packed up their camper and headed to Yosemite to help Johnson attract visitors. When they arrived, Johnson took Winfrey and King around the park to see some of its famous sites including Mariposa Grove and the Tunnel View, from which El Capitan is visible in the distance. On the way to the campsite, Winfrey made a sharp turn causing their trailer to hit a rock. After setting up their pop-up camper, the two mixed up some Moscow Mules to pass out to their camping neighbors. The drink has become a signature Oprah cocktail. The next day they took a lesson in fly fishing and wrapped up their stay with a mule ride.WEB,weblink Oprah and Gayle's Big Yosemite Camping Adventure, October 29, 2010, Web,, June 28, 2012,

Remembering Your Spirit

A segment at the end of the show that featured spiritual counselors, ordinary people who had been involved in extraordinary situations. They would come on the show and share their stories of overcoming adversity with the audience, inspiring viewers to do the same in their own lives.WEB,weblink Television Talk Shows, Marjorie Dorfman, Web, Culture Shock Online, June 28, 2012,

Change Your Life TV

Iyanla Vanzant

Iyanla Vanzant is a former attorney, spiritual teacher and self-help expert who was a regular on the show in the late 1990s. She started the show in its 12th season and became known for her no-nonsense, hard-hitting, and often humorous advice. Vanzant's take on everything from cheating spouses to financial struggles connected with viewers and, at times, Winfrey sat in the audience while Vanzant led the show. Her books In the Meantime and One Day My Soul Just Opened Up became New York Times bestsellers.WEB,weblink Iyanla Vanzant Returns to The Oprah Show, February 16, 2011, Web,, June 27, 2012,

Dr. Phil

Winfrey met Dr. Phil McGraw when he worked as a consultant for her legal team during her 1998 beef trial in Amarillo, Texas. Starting in April of that year, he became a fixture on the show and a viewer favorite. McGraw gave guests tough, tell-it-like-it-is advice and didn't allow excuses or rationalizations for their bad habits, bad marriages, or bad attitudes. His popular Tuesday appearances on the show led to his own talk show, Dr. Phil, in 2002.BOOK, The Oprah Show Official Commemorative Edition, O, The Oprah Magazine, 2011, 76,

Suze Orman

Financial expert Suze Orman became a viewer favorite, offering money tips, spending interventions, and her famous "Suze smackdowns." She encouraged people to be honest with themselves about what they could afford and gave advice on getting rid of credit card debt. Her motivational approach to fixing finances has led to her own financial advice empire.WEB,weblink Ask Oprah's All Stars Suze Orman, 2011, Web,, June 28, 2012,

What's The Buzz?

Winfrey introduced up-and-coming public figures who generated industry buzz but not otherwise widely known. In what several media commentators have labelled The Oprah Effect, people appearing on this segment such as Oscar-winner Jamie Foxx and singer James Blunt benefited from the extra publicity the show garnered. Blunt, in particular, saw album sales increase dramatically and landed a Top Two spot on the Billboard 200.

Wildest Dreams

A show feature called "Wildest Dreams" fulfilled the dreams of people reported to Winfrey by the producers – mostly viewers who wrote into the show – be the dreams of a new house, an encounter with a favorite performer, or a guest role on a popular TV show. It was named after the Tina Turner song "In Your Wildest Dreams," and Turner was one of the celebrities featured on the segment.

Tuesdays with Dr. Oz

Mehmet Oz, the head of cardiac surgery at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center in NYC and better known to millions of Winfrey's viewers as "Dr. Oz", regularly appeared on Tuesdays during the 2008–2009 season. In 2009, Dr. Oz debuted The Dr. Oz Show in first-run syndication. The series is co-produced by Harpo Productions and Sony Pictures Television. Dr. Oz has been criticized as promoting pseudo-science, and was the 2009 winner of the Pigasus Award.WEB,weblink The 2009 Pigasus Awards, The JREF, James Randi Educational Foundation, April 2, 2010, June 3, 2017,,

Fridays Live

A weekly live episode premiered in the show's 23rd season with a panel consisting of Winfrey, Gayle King, Mark Consuelos, and Ali Wentworth. The panel discussed the week's news and highlighted events in the media and on the show.In the 2009–10 season, Winfrey hosted this segment on her own. Fridays Live did not return for the show's 25th season.NEWS,weblink New York Post, Oprah's Man, Don, Kaplan, November 24, 2008,

No Phone Zone

In March 2010, Winfrey began a campaign to stop drivers from talking or texting on their cell phone in their vehicles while driving. This campaign was regularly noted near the beginning or at the end of episodes.No Phone Zone Retrieved May 14, 2010.

Memorable moments

On November 10, 1986, during a show about sexual abuse, Winfrey revealed that she was raped by a relative when she was nine years old. Since this episode, Winfrey has used the show as a platform to help catch child predators, raise awareness, and give victims a voice.WEB,weblink Most Shocking Moments – Oprah's Sexual Abuse, April 15, 2011, Web,, June 25, 2012, Liberace appeared in the first season of the show on December 25, 1986. He performed a Christmas medley; Winfrey said it was "the most beautiful I've ever heard". Six weeks later he died of cardiac arrest due to congestive heart failure brought on by subacute encephalopathy. The episode was Liberace's final televised appearance.WEB,weblink In Memoriam – Liberace, May 16, 2011, Web,, June 25, 2012, The show had only been on the air for just six months when, in 1987, Winfrey traveled to Forsyth County, Georgia, a community in which, for 75 years, no black person had lived. Winfrey brought attention to racial tensions in the area. The show was set up as a town hall meeting where residents expressed their divisive opinions on the matter. The meeting was becoming heated when one woman stood up and said:}}The "Diet Dreams Come True" episode from November 15, 1988 has become one of the most talked-about moments in the history of show. After years of struggling to lose weight, Winfrey had finally succeeded in doing so. In July of that year, she had started the Optifast diet while weighing 212 pounds. By Fall, she weighed 145 pounds. To commemorate achieving her weight loss goals, Winfrey wheeled out a wagon full of fat to represent the 67 pounds she had lost on the diet. She showed off her slim figure in a pair of size 10 Calvin Klein jeans. However, after returning to real food she quickly gained back much of the weight she had lost.WEB,weblink Oprah's Top 20 Moments, October 2005, Web,, June 25, 2012, Winfrey now refers to that moment as her "ego in a pom pom salute."WEB,weblink The Complete Webcast of Oprah's Lifeclass with Eckhart Tolle, October 10, 2011, Web,, June 25, 2012, While doing a show centered on women drug users in 1995, Winfrey opened up about her personal history with drug abuse:}}In 1996, Winfrey spoke with seven of the Little Rock Nine and three white former classmates who tormented the group on their first day of high school in 1957 as well as a student who had befriended them. Winfrey was grateful to have the remaining members of the Little Rock Nine on her show because she credits her success to those who have contributed to the Civil Rights Movement which paved the way for people like herself.WEB,weblink The Little Rock Nine, January 17, 2011, Web,, June 25, 2012, Comedian Ellen DeGeneres came out publicly as a lesbian during her appearance on the show in 1997 after appearing on a Time magazine cover next to the headline "Yep, I'm gay." At the time, DeGeneres was the star of her own sitcom, ABC's Ellen. The episode brought Winfrey the most hate mail she had ever received.WEB,weblink Ellen DeGeneres Stands in her Truth, October 13, 2011, Video,, June 25, 2012, Clemantine Wamariya and her sister Claire appeared on the show in 2006 when Wamariya was selected as one of the winners of an essay contest held by Winfrey. It was revealed that the siblings had not seen their parents in 12 years after fleeing Rwanda during the 1994 genocide. Winfrey surprised the sisters by flying their family to Chicago for one of the most emotional reunions on the show.WEB,weblink Meet the Essay Contest Winnders, May 25, 2006, Web,, June 25, 2012, In 2007, the Marines of the Second Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion Alpha Company and their naval corpsman, made the show their first stop after a seven-month tour on the front lines in Iraq. Winfrey welcomed the Marines with a big homecoming celebration where they were reunited with their loved ones on the show.WEB,weblink Soldiers' Families Reunited, November 2, 2011, Web,, June 25, 2012, (File:200 Men, The Oprah Winfrey Show, 2010.jpg|thumb|right|Two hundred men who were molested stand together during a 2010 episode)On November 11, 2009, Charla Nash, who was mauled by her friend and employer Sandra Herold's pet chimpanzee Travis, came to the show to speak out for the first time about the terrifying attack that took place just nine months prior. Nash wears a veil daily because the attack left devastating injuries to her face and she "doesn't want to scare people." During the show, she agreed to lift her veil for the first time in public.WEB,weblink Chimp Attack Victim Charla Nash Shows Her Face, November 11, 2009, Web,, June 25, 2012, While taping the show's 24th-season premiere on September 8, 2009, the entire audience of 21,000 people, gathered on Chicago's Magnificent Mile, surprised Winfrey by breaking out into a synchronized dance set to The Black Eyed Peas' performance of "I Gotta Feeling" (with new lyrics congratulating Winfrey on her show's longevity). The dance had been choreographed and rehearsed for weeks by a core group of dancers, who taught it to the entire crowd earlier in the day.WEB,weblink Oprah's Kickoff Party Flash Mob Dance, September 10, 2009, Web,, June 25, 2012, During the farewell season, two hundred men who were molested came forward as part of a two-day event in 2010 to take a stand against sexual abuse. The men were joined by director and producer Tyler Perry, who had also experienced sexual abuse. Winfrey hoped that the episode would help survivors suffering in silence release the shame.WEB,weblink A Two-Day Oprah Show Event: 200 Adult Men Who Were Molested Come Forward, November 5, 2010, Web,, June 25, 2012, On January 24, 2011, Winfrey revealed that just before Thanksgiving 2010 she had discovered she has a half-sister. Winfrey decided to share the news on her show because she knew the story would eventually get out and wanted to be the first to address the matter.WEB,weblink Oprah's Family Secret, January 24, 2011, Web,, June 25, 2012,


On the season premiere of 2004, every person in Winfrey's show audience was given a new car that was donated by General Motors{{citation needed|date=December 2018}} worth about $8 million in total.WEB,weblink J. Weston, Phippen, John Oliver's $15 Million Debt Giveaway, June 6, 2016, June 6, 2016, For the premiere of the show's farewell season, the studio audience of 300 "ultimate fans" were rewarded by being given a trip to Australia with Winfrey (donated by Australian tourism bodies).NEWS, Quinn, Karl, When Oprah gives, someone else pays, The Age, January 22, 2011,weblink January 22, 2011, Melbourne, Australia, Other giveaway shows included the annual Oprah's Favorite Things show, in which the studio audience received products Winfrey considered good Christmas gifts.


In 1996, on a discussion of mad cow disease, Winfrey stated that the disease fears had "stopped [her] cold from eating another burger!"NEWS,weblink Talk of the Town: Burgers v. Oprah, Howe Verhovek, Sam, January 21, 1998, The New York Times, 2018-11-30, en, Texas cattle ranchers considered that quote tantamount to defamation, and promptly sued her for libel. The show was still producing new episodes at the time of the trial and could not go into reruns, so the production was forced to move to Amarillo, Texas for a period of approximately one month during the proceedings. A gag order meant Winfrey was not allowed to even mention the trial on her show. Winfrey was found not liable.WEB,weblink Cattlemen Condemn False and Misleading Oprah Show,, May 26, 2011, WEB,weblink Oprah's report on Mad Cow Disease,, April 15, 1996, May 26, 2011, NEWS,weblink Oprah: 'Free speech rocks'. Texas cattlemen lose defamation suit, CNN, May 25, 2010, The trial and move to Amarillo led to Winfrey meeting Phil McGraw; Winfrey made McGraw a regular guest on her show shortly thereafter, which eventually led to McGraw getting his own show, produced by Winfrey's Harpo Productions.NEWS,weblink Fox News, Game Changing for Dr. Phil in New Season of Hit Show, September 9, 2009, A controversial episode, which aired in 2005 (though originally aired to little apparent notice in October 2003), saw guests discussing the sexual act of "rimming", igniting criticism. The FCC received a proliferation of complaints from angry parents whose children watched the show in an early-evening slot in many television markets. However, most FCC correspondents were prodded to write by Howard Stern, a noteworthy target of the agency, as well as Jimmy Kimmel, in an attempt to expose an FCC double standard.WEB, Time Waster,weblink FCC Swamped With Oprah Indecency Complaints – May 4, 2004,, May 26, 2011, During the 2008 presidential election campaign, Winfrey was criticized for apparently declining to invite Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin to her show until after the election.NEWS,weblink New York Post, Palin Clubbed By Oprah Snub, Clemente, Lisi, September 6, 2008, A 2009 episode attracted criticism from the crowd after Winfrey suggested mothers should buy vibrators for their teenage daughters.Moms should buy vibrators for teen daughters retrieved 15 June 2012.Winfrey's program was criticized for featuring alternative medicine advocates such as Suzanne Somers and vaccine denialist Jenny McCarthy.NEWS,weblink The New York Times, The Fine Art of Quitting While She's Ahead, Alessandra, Stanley, November 21, 2009, May 25, 2010, {{Citation |last=Allen |first=Arthur |publication-date=May 6, 2009 |title=Say It Ain't So, O |work=Slate |url=}}In the lead-up to Winfrey's tour of Australia, the show was heavily criticized for airing a segment sponsored by the McDonald's CorporationNEWS,weblink When Oprah educates Yanks on our 'hip' McCafes, it's the dollar talking, The Australian, December 6, 2010, May 26, 2011, Amanda, Meade, Lara, Sinclair, NEWS,weblink, Daniela, Elser, Coffee houses in a froth over Oprah's McCafe sell-out, December 6, 2010, in which it was claimed by Australian TV personality Carrie Bickmore that Australians liked to hang out at "hip McCafés".WEB,weblink The Australian Way – Video,, May 26, 2011, This depiction of Australian culture was greeted with surprise by many Australians, and anger throughout the Australian coffee industry, which claimed the statements did not accurately reflect the industry, painted the Australian coffee drinker in a bad light, and expected that the industry would be negatively affected by the statements. In the same episode, McDonald's products were handed out to the studio audience.

Final season

Early in its twelfth season, Winfrey confessed she was "exhausted" and considered quitting.JOURNAL,weblink Cover Story: Oprah Winfrey Reveals the Real Reason Why She Stayed on TV, Jet (magazine), Jet, November 24, 1997, May 26, 2011, 58, However, while making the 1998 movie Beloved, Winfrey then admitted that it brought her back to her responsibility as an admired black woman with a great deal of power and influence. She realized that being in such a position within the media industry, she could make a positive difference in people's lives. Winfrey was once again inspired to continue to help people take better control of their destinies, hence her slogan, "Live Your Best Life".On January 15, 2008, Discovery Communications, Harpo Productions, and Winfrey announced a joint venture to establish a new cable channel in 2009, known as the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN).WEB, Discovery, Winfrey to Team Up On Network,weblink Washington Post, April 29, 2017, In November 2008, it was reported that, during a conference call, Discovery Communications CEO David Zaslav stated that Winfrey did not intend to renew her contracts for The Oprah Winfrey Show beyond the 2010-11 season. Zaslav stated that Oprah could potentially move to the new channel in some form following the end of the syndicated series. However, Harpo Productions denied the report, stating that Winfrey had "not made a final decision as to whether she will continue her show in syndication beyond [2011]".WEB,weblink Will Oprah Winfrey End Show in 2011?, TV Guide, November 8, 2008, November 12, 2008, NEWS,weblink WINFREY’S SET TO DISOWN ABC, 2008-11-08, Page Six, 2018-10-14, en-US, On November 20, 2009, Winfrey officially announced that The Oprah Winfrey Show would conclude in 2011, after its 25th and final season. Winfrey explained that 25 was "the perfect number—the exact right time", and that "I love this show. This show has been my life. And I love it enough to know when it's time to say goodbye."NEWS,weblink A Tearful Winfrey Explains Her Departure, Stelter, Brian, Media Decoder, The New York Times, 2018-10-14, en, The 25th season premiered on September 13, 2010, featuring guest John Travolta, and an audience of 300 of her "most loyal" fans.WEB,weblink Oprah surprises her audience with a trip to Australia – on a plane flown by John Travolta, Benedictus, Leo, 2010-09-14, The Guardian, en, 2018-10-14, During the episode, it was also announced that the entire audience had been invited to join Winfrey on an eight-day, all-expenses-paid trip to Sydney, Australia for a series of special episodes, via a plane piloted by Travolta.NEWS,weblink Oprah Winfrey sends audience to Australia, BBC News, September 14, 2010, On December 11, 2010, Winfrey arrived in Sydney to record shows at the Sydney Opera House. Winfrey and her 300 American audience members were officially welcomed at a cocktail party in Sydney's Botanical Gardens overlooking Sydney Harbour.WEB,weblink Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Harbour Bridge lights up for Oprah, December 12, 2010, December 27, 2010, The beach-themed party, hosted by New South Wales Premier Kristina Keneally, featured live music and a fireworks display over the water which culminated in the lighting of a red 'O' on the Harbour Bridge.WEB,weblink Video excerpt: Network 10 News on Oprah's Australian visit, December 27, 2010, The episodes in Australia were coordinated between Harpo Studios, Tourism Australia, Tourism New South Wales, the Sydney Opera House, Tourism Victoria, Tourism Queensland, R. M. Williams and Network Ten.WEB,weblink To Host "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in Australia, Tourism Australia, May 26, 2011,weblink" title="">weblink February 15, 2011, yes, mdy-all, WEB,weblink Oprah visit to cost taxpayers $3m, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, September 14, 2010, May 26, 2011, The federal government of Australia spent $1.5 million on the event while the government of the state of New South Wales spent an additional $1–2 million to promote the region. Tourism minister Martin Ferguson said "I think it's money well spent". In addition, Tourism Victoria spent a further A$650,000.Peter Mickelburough, "Taxpayers forked out $650,000 for Oprah Winfrey's Melbourne visit", Herald Sun, July 20, 2011.The farewell season featured several notable cast reunions, including The Sound of Music, The Color Purple, and The Way We Were.WEB,weblink For the First Time in 45 Years: The Entire Cast of The Sound of Music Reunites, October 28, 2010, Web,, June 25, 2012, WEB,weblink The Color Purple Reunion, November 15, 2010, Web,, June 25, 2012, WEB,weblink A Once-in-a-Lifetime Barbra Streisand Extravaganza!, November 16, 2010, Web,, June 25, 2012, {{secondary source needed|date=October 2018}}In May 2011, Winfrey interviewed U.S. President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama, her first-ever interview with a sitting president and First Lady. They talked about the challenges of parenting at the White House, the strength of their relationship, and their concern for the country's future. President Obama also thanked Winfrey for her contributions to the country. "You've got a big heart, and you share it with people. Nobody knows how to connect better than you do," he said. "We are just blessed and grateful to have you in our lives."WEB,weblink President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama, May 2, 2011, Web,, September 11, 2012, {{secondary source needed|date=October 2018}}

Final episodes

The final episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show aired in the United States on Wednesday, May 25, 2011. It was preceded by a two-part farewell special recorded at the United Center in Chicago in front of an audience of 13,000.NEWS,weblink Final Oprah Winfrey talk show is broadcast, May 26, 2011, BBC, May 25, 2011, The two-part show featured appearances by Aretha Franklin, Tom Cruise, Stevie Wonder, Patti LaBelle, Beyoncé, Tom Hanks, Maria Shriver, Will Smith, and Madonna.NEWS, Final Oprah Winfrey talk show is broadcast,weblink May 26, 2011, BBC, May 25, 2011, NEWS, The Last Oprah Winfrey Show: Tears, Cheers And Oprah’s Final Lesson,weblink May 26, 2011, Forbes, Jenna, Goudreau, NEWS, Fans across the country gather for 'Oprah' viewing parties,weblink May 26, 2011, CNN, May 26, 2011, Several hundred graduates of Morehouse College who were the recipients of Oprah's Oprah Winfrey Scholarship also attended to thank Oprah and pledge their future support of the scholarship program.WEB,weblink Oprah’s Generosity Spurs Past Morehouse Scholarship Recipients to Pledge New Scholarship Funding, May 27, 2011,, Diverse: Issues In Higher Education, June 3, 2017, NEWS,weblink Television Diva Gives Thanks and Signs Off, Stanley, Alessandra, May 25, 2011, The New York Times, May 26, 2011, The final episode was a smaller affair, recorded in the usual recording studio. Winfrey spent most of the finale thanking the show's staff and her fans.}}She finished the show in tears.NEWS, Oprah's finale: 'Until we meet again',weblink May 26, 2011, USA Today, May 25, 2011, The finale was marked by viewing parties across the US, and the episode was also shown in movie theaters.NEWS, Oprah Show Finale at Aksarben Cinema,weblink May 26, 2011,,weblink" title="">weblink May 29, 2011, yes, mdy-all, The episode received the show's highest rating in 17 years.NEWS,weblink Oprah's finale draws highest ratings in 17 years, May 26, 2011, USA Today, May 26, 2011,

United States viewership

missing image!
- Harpo Studios Oprah Marquee.jpg -
Marquee for the show, above entrance at Harpo Studios in Near West Side, Chicago. The first Oprah show was taped there on January 15, 1990.O, The Oprah Magazine, May 2015, p. 190.
It has been reported that the show averages an estimated 7,NEWS,weblink Oprah Winfrey to End Her Talk Show, The New York Times, November 19, 2009, Brian, Stelter, Bill, Carter, May 25, 2010, NEWS,weblink Oprah Winfrey: the TV queen's crown slips, Times Newspapers Ltd, May 29, 2008, London, Penny, Wark, May 25, 2010, 14,WEB,weblink TIME 100: Oprah Winfrey, Time Inc., June 8, 1998, and 15–20WEB,weblink Oprah Winfrey – The Many Faces of Oprah, New York TV Show Tickets Inc., million viewers a day in the United States. It has also been reported at 26 millionWEB,weblink TV Show Reviews,, and 42 millionWEB,weblink 'The Oprah Winfrey Show' to end in 2011, New Jersey On-Line LLC, November 20, 2009, WEB,weblink Oprah decides to end show ‘after much prayer’, MSNBC, November 20, 2009, a week (5.2 and 8.4 million a day). Viewership for the show has been reported to have dropped over the years, averaging 12.6 million in 1991-2,WEB,weblink Oprah Winfrey queen of a declining empire – daytime TV, The Christian Science Monitor, November 22, 2009, 9 million in 2004, 9 million in 2005,NEWS,weblink Oprah Winfrey Show suffers ratings slump, The Daily Telegraph, May 27, 2008, London, Lucy, Cockcroft, May 25, 2010, 7.8 in 2006, 7.3 million in 2008, and 6.2 million in 2009.The show was number one in the talk show ratings since its debut. The show spent many years as the highest-rated program in daytime television. Even with stiff competition, Oprah still maintained a consistent lead over other talk shows.WEB,weblink Media Queen Oprah Winfrey Losing Ratings Battle, May 27, 2008,

International syndication

The show aired on most ABC-owned stations in the United States (except KTRK-TV, but CBS-affiliate KHOU carried the show for the entire run) (as well as various other stations through CBS Television Distribution, successor to King World), CTV in most Canadian markets,WEB,weblink The Oprah Winfrey Show,, January 12, 2009, September 25, 2003, Diva Universal in Malaysia,WEB,weblinkweblink" title="">weblink yes, November 27, 2010, Diva – Forums – The Oprah Winfrey Show,, May 26, 2011, TV3 in Ireland,WEB,weblink The Oprah Winfrey Show – TV3,, September 30, 2010, May 26, 2011,weblink" title="">weblink May 23, 2011, yes, mdy-all, GNT in Brazil, national TV3 in Sweden, Network Ten in Australia, La7d in Italy, MBC 4 in the Arab world, MetroTV in Indonesia, FARSI1 in Iran, and in the Netherlands on RTL4.In the United Kingdom, the show has been broadcast on a number of different channels. Channel 4 first broadcast the series on Monday 3 October 1988,WEB,weblink Evening Times – Google News Archive Search, During the 1990s the BBC2 acquired the rights before they went to FiveWEB,weblink An Introductory History of British Broadcasting, Andrew, Crisell, 29 June 2005, Routledge, Google Books, from early 1998. Rights subsequently went to Living TV by 2002, followed by ITV2 in 2006, and then to Diva TV, until rights went to TLC for the last couple of series. During most of the 1990s and 2000s Sky one also broadcast the series.The show aired in 149 countries worldwide and was often renamed and dubbed into other languages.WEB,weblink Global Distribution List of The Oprah Winfrey Show,, March 29, 2011, May 26, 2011,

See also




Further reading

  • BOOK, Illouz, Eva, Oprah Winfrey and the Glamour of Misery: An Essay on Popular Culture,weblink May 31, 2011, 2003, Columbia University Press, New York, 978-0-231-11813-2,
  • NEWS,weblink The Church of Oprah Winfrey and a Theology of Suffering, Oppenheimer, Mark, May 28, 2011, The New York Times, May 31, 2011,

External links

{{Oprah Winfrey}}{{Daytime Emmy Award Outstanding Talk Show}}

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