After 25 years on network television, “The Oprah Winfrey Show” airs its final show today. Oprah’s talk show has been a staple of daytime television for the entirety of its run and helped the nascent talk show format become the behemoth that it is today. Over the course of it’s time on television, Oprah has become a one-named wonder and one of the most powerful (and richest) women in America. She is leaving the show after launching her own television network, OWN, and is truly bravely going out on top.
“The Oprah Winfrey Show,” which is pretty much always called just “Oprah,” has featured tens of thousands of guests and touched countless viewers’ lives here and abroad. Oprah’s combination of complete enthusiasm, ability to listen, and openness about her own struggles made her seem like America’s best friend. Her struggle with her weight was a frequent topic for conversation:
Over the years, Oprah has sired a slough of new talk show hosts: From Dr. Mehmet Oz to designer Nate Berkus to financial guru Suze Orman. Her most famous scion is, of course, “Dr. Phil” McGraw:
Oprah’s Book Club seemed to single-handedly save the beleaguered book publishing industry by encouraging her millions of viewers to read tomes like, “The Good Earth” and finally make author Pearl Buck a millionaire. However, in 2006, Winfrey put author James Frey in the hot seat after it was revealed that his memoir (and Oprah’s Book Club pick) “A Million Little Pieces” was fiction:
Over the years, Winfrey had a knack for getting even the most elusive celebrity to come on her show. She nabbed Michael Jackson’s first live TV interview in 14 years for a 1993 special at Neverland Ranch. Even Maria Shriver was on the show just this week, despite very public marital trouble and an impending divorce from husband Arnold Schwarzeneggar. Tom Cruise famously jumped on Oprah’s couch declaring, “I’m in love! I’m in love!” in 2005 about then-girlfriend Katie Holmes. Will Smith, Usher, Tom Hanks and Stevie Wonder all turned up to Winfrey’s Farewell Spectacular, which aired as her second and third-to-last shows. She even got to interview the 2008 Presidential candidates:
Oprah’s Favorite Things was always the hottest ticket in town. Whether Winfrey was gifting Burberry jackets, popcorn, or cars, the show had EMTs on hand for the overwhelmed guests. Last year, Oprah and her best friend Gayle King, took over 300 viewers on an 8-day Australian getaway. The show had to end after that, because what would be next? Luxury condos? College educations for the children?
Oprah always made time for causes she believed in, be it education, AIDS awareness, animal cruelty, sex trafficking, or getting the Olympic Games to come to Chicago:
And, of course, Oprah had a baby with Dave Chappelle: