How Oprah became a star Inside show#1 AND who actually convinced her to “go for it”

When Oprah Winfrey first began in 1986 she was considered as “no threat” to the current talk show host at that time. 25 years and a Billion dollars later Oprah prepares for her last show On May 25

If there was a defining moment in Oprah Winfrey’s business career, it came in 1986, when King World offered her a syndication deal.

She’d been hosting the successful AM Chicago, a half-hour morning talk show, when friend and movie critic Roger Ebert persuaded her to go for it.

She knew she could make far more money but worried that “if your show isn’t successful in syndication, you’re off the air in three months,” Ebert wrote in 2005.

[Photos: Hot shows coming to the small screen]

Winfrey completed the deal during a break in filming 1985’s “The Color Purple” and received a $1 million signing bonus (which would be a rounding number on her current net wealth).

“I’m thrilled at the prospect of beating Phil Donahue throughout the country,” she said at a post-signing news conference.

That seemed a long shot; Donahue’s show dominated daytime talk. “We wanted someone different,” Michael King said in 2007. “Oprah Winfrey was doing a great job hosting AM Chicago, and it goes without saying that she looked different.”

[Photos: Entertainment’s 9 highest paid CEOs]

On September 8, 1986, “The Oprah Winfrey Show” debuted with a show titled “How to Marry the Man/Woman of Your Choice.” Above is a photo of Winfrey interviewing Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter from an episode that aired June 5, 1987.

Time magazine wrote, “Few people would have bet on Oprah Winfrey’s swift rise to host of the most popular talk show on TV. In a field dominated by white males, she is a black female of ample bulk. As interviewers go, she is no match for, say, Phil Donahue…What she lacks in journalistic toughness, she makes up for in plainspoken curiosity, robust humor and, above all empathy. Guests with sad stories to tell are apt to rouse a tear in Oprah’s eye…They, in turn, often find themselves revealing things they would not imagine telling anyone, much less a national TV audience. It is the talk show as a group therapy session.”

Martha Bayles of The Wall Street Journal said, “It’s a relief to see a gab-monger with a fond but realistic assessment of her own cultural and religious roots,” while Newsday’s Les Payne noted, “Oprah Winfrey is sharper than Donahue, wittier, more genuine, and far better attuned to her audience, if not the world.”

[Photos: How morning news has changed]

While The Hollywood Reporter viewed Winfrey as “playfully belligerent” with a “charming sass,” it didn’t see much variation between her and Donahue.

“In choice of subject matter,” said the review, “not too radically different from what Phil is presenting.”

There would be one major difference, though: Winfrey transformed into a billionaire cultural icon; Donahue didn’t.

But now a similarity has returned: talk show retirement.

“The Oprah Winfrey Show’s” last original episode airs May 25.


3 thoughts on “How Oprah became a star Inside show#1 AND who actually convinced her to “go for it”

  1. Given that 1981, the United States has actually adhered to a plan,
    up until the last year approximately when we began reassessing
    it, that we abundant nations that create a lot of meals ought to
    market it to bad nations and relieve them of the worry of generating their
    very own food, so, give thanks to goodness, they could jump straight into the industrial
    period,” Clinton stated. Critics like Jean-Baptiste claim it’s the factor current USAID computer programming in Haiti concentrates on creating export goods like mangos, cacao and coffee, yet mainly disregards staples like rice as well as corn.

  2. I think a car would be a pricey barrier in this area, not an asset.

    The italian train is quite low-cost compare to other countries,
    and also i found it secure and also tidy.
    Car rental isn’t really going to save you much, unless you have a team traveling
    with each other. Having lived in Rome, I have
    actually done this trip both methods – by automobile as well as train.

  3. We truly delighted in shooting your wedding event as well as
    after event:) Looking forward to shooting your pal’s wedding
    event this November!

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s