So what would you do after 25 years of total domination in your field and access to billions of dollars, several homes around the world and literally anything you could ever want — ever?
You’d probably retire, too.
And, of course, throw the biggest retirement party this world has ever seen.
That’s exactly what mega media mogul Oprah Winfrey did last week, in front of 20,000 fans at Chicago’s United Center. The final episodes began airing yesterday, with the finale set for Wednesday.
And what a way to go out. Celebs like Tom Cruise, Beyonce, Madonna and Tom Hanks all paid homage to Winfrey, who wrapped her daytime talk show, “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” after 25 years to focus on the network she created, OWN.
I mean, after taping more than 5,000 shows, jumpstarting the careers of hundreds of people (including Dr. Phil McGraw and Rachael Ray, both who have talk shows thanks to her) and giving millions of people a reason to grab a bag of chips and a box of Kleenex every afternoon, she certainly deserves this kind of farewell.
And the turnout was A-list perfection: Halle Berry, Will and Jada Pinkett Smith, Michael Jordan, Jerry Seinfeld, Simon Cowell, Queen Latifah, Stevie Wonder, Maria Shriver, Katie Holmes, Dakota Fanning and Maya Angelou, to name a few.
I’ll admit it: I do watch “Oprah,” albeit on occasion. I’m rarely home by 4 p.m. (when it airs in Hawaii), and I don’t bother watching the rebroadcast later at night. (By that point, I’ve forgotten all about it and have moved on to more important things like laundry and strategizing the worldwide annihilation of ants.) But there was always something comforting about knowing that, wherever I was, on any day of the week, Oprah Winfrey would be waiting for me, with a story that would make me cry, a makeover that would make me smile, or sometimes a celebrity confession (read: Tom Cruise) that would make me cringe.
For most of my life, Winfrey has been endorsing her favorite books and giving away her favorite things to an eager and zealous base of fiercely loyal fans. It will be strange not to use her in the first person anymore, like she’s picked up and moved to another country — and refuses to sign up for Facebook.
While I never always agreed with her — the whole fiasco with James Frey, author of the controversial “A Million Little Pieces” comes to mind — you can’t deny how influential she is. And you can’t deny how empty that time slot will be come Thursday.
Got a favorite “Oprah” show? Are you going to miss the daytime talk show magnet? Or are you glad to see the self-made demigod finally give it up?
Finally is right.Oh well. Hey, maybe your “Cat Chat” could get syndicated and fill that void? I’d stand in line to be a studio audience member for a chance to get a free Cat-mobile.The times they are a ‘changin…….
Uh, negative on Cat Chat filling the void. I wish — but I’m no Oprah!
Whether I like her public persona or not, I have to admire her success. From taking over as a host of a local talk show in Chicago and building herself into a global media empire, with herself as emperor, she has always been able to connect with a great number of people. She also hired very good people, and has made excellent business decisions. A sister-in-law of mine was on Oprah’s Australian adventure last December, and she had only nice things to say about the experience and about Oprah herself.
I’d actually like to meet her one day. I think she would be exactly how we see her on TV. I don’t think she puts on an act for the show.
Then I’d ask her to invest in my plans to eat everything in the world. 🙂
I saw Oprah’s show being taped during the only time her show came to Hawaii, in 1985, the year her show went into national syndication. She’s shorter in person, but real friendly.
I don’t remember her show coming to Hawaii!!!!
Aloha Cat! O is hardly retiring since she now has OWN (Oprah Winfrey Network), and I think we may see some form of a show (perhaps weekly?) from her at some point over there. On that network it has been interesting to watch her “Behind the Scenes” series which has shown what goes on in producing shows for this last year of the Oprah show. She also has some other interesting shows, such as the one with Lisa Ling.
As for James Frey…O recently had two shows with him to clear the air and it provided much background info re: Frey’s “decision” to publish his first book as a memoir vs. a fictional novel. I think his publishers were somewhat heavy-handed with him.
I have watched her show regularly and will miss it very much. I am looking forward to seeing what she does for her final show on Wednesday!
Aside from the awesomeness of her media empire, I will always associate french fries with Oprah and her show. I was not a regular watcher of her show (I generally had to work), but I have a distinct recollection, during her first major slim-down/get-get fit series of shows, seeing Oprah’s confession about her inability to resist french fries as much of the source of her curves at that point.
For us normal people, if Oprah couldn’t stay fit and thin with the best medical thinking, the best fitness coaches, the best fitness equipment, and the best healthy-cooking chefs that vast wealth could afford, how do we stand a chance? I never cared whether Oprah was thick or thin – she is a genuinely talented person and looks pretty good all the time. However. it was something of a spectacle though each time Oprah would resolve to get thin, or aknowledge that she couldn’t stay there and surrender.
Frankly Cat I watched two episodes in twenty five years so it will be hard to miss something I never got into in the first place. I hope her network does well so maybe when she is ready to retire from that I can say I actually watched something she has done. Never been a daytime TV kind of guy.
Never really watched her show with any consistency. But, I do admire her for all that’s she’s done! She broke through two glass ceilings and has set the bar for success for what women and especially, african-american women, can accomplish if they set their mind to it, even in a male-dominated genre (which at that time, was day-time television, and also publishing and television/motion picture production).
So, whether you watched it or not, a little part of you must grieve when something of quality leaves, and gives juuuuust a little more power to the junk-meal TV, such as Real Housewives and Jersey Shore.