Robert Stein 1924-2014

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Friday, November 20, 2009

Oprah's Kissoff

Now that she has smooched you-know-who this week, the talented Ms. Winfrey is ready to end the talk show that made her a billionaire and start the next phase of her life as a media mogul with a cable channel aptly named OWN.

Like the would-be VP but for much longer and in a far different way, Oprah has been a phenomenon, rising from the depths of poverty to become an American icon with empathy, intelligence and enthusiasm, an Everywoman in constant battles to control her emotional life as well as her weight, educate herself and her audiences with a book club, overcome all obstacles in a world still dominated by men.

Her embrace of Barack Obama last year was the climax of a career that went well beyond race, giving a rhetorically gifted but emotionally standoffish candidate just the touch of humanity needed to connect with her constituency, to say nothing of the $3 million and more she raised for him.

Trading her celebrity at 55 to become a mostly behind-the-scenes Rupert Murdoch, Oprah leaves more than two decades of what has been called "a talk show as group therapy session" for millions

As in her ratings coup this week, Ms. Winfrey has occasionally stooped to conquer--i.e., her promotion of the cultural embarrassment known as Dr. Phil.

But as a fiery New York mayor of my childhood Fiorello LaGuardia used to say, "When I make a mistake, it's a beaut."


Holte Ender said...

I have never seen one Oprah show, but I am aware of her brand and her media status, which I suppose is a compliment to the strength of her marketing ability.

Fuzzy Slippers said...

So was the mistake in interviewing Sarah Palin or in not recognizing that it would boost her ratings to the highest they'd been in two years?