Making Oprah: Episode One: No Strategy, No Plan, No Formula
It was 30 years ago this fall that Oprah Winfrey first said "hellooooo" to a national audience. By time it ended in 2011, her daily talk show was aired in 145 countries and watched by more than 40 million viewers a week in the U.S. alone. Today's daytime hosts like Ellen and Dr. Oz? They now average only about a tenth of that. If Oprah mentioned a book title, it became a best-seller. She landed the interviews that no one else could get. Her message of spirituality and empowerment influenced millions. In the first of a three-part series, Oprah and former producers talk with WBEZ's Jenn White about the early, scrappy days of The Oprah Winfrey Show. Phil Donahue reflects on Oprah's entry into the daytime talk landscape that he once dominated. Plus, this episode revisits milestones from the 1980s, like the show's national debut, and some mixed feelings over the show's highest-rated episode ever.