Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Bidding Adieu to the Queen of Talk

This week marks the end of one of the most successful talk shows in modern history.  Oprah Winfrey will say goodbye to her show to focus on her cable network (OWN) and her acting career among many, many projects.  For today's Tuesday Talks, I'd like to ask Ms. Winfrey a few questions.  I'll be good and not mention this job rejection letter I'm still holding on to from Harpo, Inc.  That's probably bad karma.  I should have shredded it after all these years. 
Dear Oprah,
May I call you that?  You seem personable enough for that.  I always thought we shared a common bond since we both have unique first names.  After spending 25 years in the living rooms of many homes, we've gotten accustomed to just calling you Oprah.  You were part of the family.  I recall my mom watching your show daily after General Hospital.  You had the 4pm-5pm time slot in New York when I lived there.  Of course I was doing my homework, so I didn't watch your show that much until the summer.  I do recall the show featuring the Alaskan men searching for wives.  I even taped that one.  Darn it.  If only I were older at the time.  There aren't too many places where men out number women.  You should have done more shows like that.  Maybe you can even feature a dating show on OWN.  I'm almost certain I mentioned a job I had in the past that required me to pitch show ideas to producers.  Sorry, getting off track.
We've all heard about the challenging upbringing you've had.  I commend your grit and determination to overcome all those obstacles.  What do you think were the keys to your success so far?  We know you have the brains.  Was it timing by being in the right place at the right time?   Was it networking or forming alliances?  The media can be a dirty business at times.
What were you hoping to accomplish by having your talk show?  Do you think you've succeeded?  There have been plenty of talk shows on since I've been alive.  Some have been on as long as you, others are still going and many have failed after a few seasons.
I noticed on your website that you have the 25 highest rated Oprah Winfrey Show episodes.  Do you recall any that you wished you had never done?  I still remember the episode you did when you lost all that weight.  You were in a great pair of fitted jeans and you came out with a wagon of fat equaling all the weight you lost.  I can only imagine all the pressure you probably put on yourself to try to keep the weight off.  Did you ever feel threatened by doing any of the shows?  I know you've done shows featuring the KKK or dealing with racist communities.
You worked in Baltimore, headed to Chicago and eventually started your talk show.  Why not New York or LA?  It seems like you have always had a passion for the theater and movies.  It would have seemed like either coast would have been a better fit.
In the beginning, did the network executives want you to change your format?  Did they believe Phil Donahue owned the market and that his viewers were untouchable?  What do you think about the flurry of talk shows that appeared on the radar after your success?  How did you feel about the format for Geraldo, The Jerry Springer Show, The Montel Williams Show and Ricki Lake?
If you hadn't found your niche in acting and hosting your own show, what would you be doing with your life now?  Did you have a backup career choice if things didn't go so well?
How do you deal with the harsh criticism that non-fans hold for you?  For all the good you have done philanthropy wise, there are many who still can't stand you.  They say you live in another world and that you've lost touch with the average person. 
Have do you deal with failure?  What have been some of the lessons you've learned from it?
As we wind down to the final two episodes, I thank you for paving the way for future women in this field.  We appreciate your openness, your vulnerability, your willingness to discuss challenging topics, your passion & enthusiasm and your courage to be you.  Best of luck with OWN!  If Rosie's and Sarah's shows don't work out, a dating show for minority women would be great.  Harpo, Inc should still have my cell number in their file.  You know where to find me.

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