Today is the last Oprah show. After 25 years, Oprah is giving up her daily talk show to concentrate on her OWN channel. One of Oprah Winfrey’s great gifts is making everyone in the audience feel not just that we know her but that she is our friend. Some other television personalities invite us into their lives, but I think their faux-self-deprecation always comes across as narcissistic and needy. But Oprah avoids the TMI over-reveal while still making us feel that we are on a journey with her. She is utterly comfortable with the biggest stars and most powerful business and political leaders on the planet while never losing her sense of all-out fan-ship. Even though no one is more influential than she is, we know she identifies with us more than she does with them.
The Wrap has a good list of the eight most defining moments of Oprah’s past 25 years. For me, though, the most memorable moments were not the ones with celebrities or giveaways. They were the privileged moments in which ordinary people struggling with extraordinary challenges shared their lives. I was very touched in yesterday’s show when the young people who were able to go to college because of Oprah filled the stage.
I believe Oprah’s best and most important work is ahead and look forward to OWN under her full-time leadership. Thanks for a quarter-century of programs that got people reading great books and encouraged viewers to follow their dreams and believe in their own power.