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?