Entries in Oprah Winfrey Show (7)


Oprah Winfrey's Production Company Provides Notice of Layoffs

Barry Brecheisen/WireImage(CHICAGO) -- Oprah Winfrey's Chicago-based Harpo Studios Inc., has notified the state of Illinois it's planning an undisclosed number of layoffs in the wake of the talk show host ending her syndicated program after 25 years on the air.

Crain’s Chicago reports a Harpo spokeswoman declined to say exactly how many jobs will be cut but acknowledged it could be up to one third of the staff.  The magazine says as of December, Harpo had 400 full and part-time employees, not counting the 50 or so workers who left last year to join the Los Angeles-based Oprah Winfrey Network cable channel.

Harpo Studios Inc. issued a statement saying it is "in the process of separating some employees from its campus part of the company's restructuring." The Harpo statement went on to say "Most of those leaving us are doing so voluntarily to pursue other interests."

Illinois requires companies with at least 75 employees to provide the state with 60 days notice of shutdowns or layoffs. Crain's reports Harpo filed a notice on May 3 of a plan to lay off employees beginning May 25, the day Oprah's final show aired.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Oprah Winfrey's Star-Studded Farewell Surprise

ABC, Inc.(CHICAGO) -- An estimated 13,000 Oprah Winfrey fans are getting a first-hand sneak peek at what the talk show queen has in store for the two shows leading up to her grand finale.

Just before 7:30 p.m. in Chicago, Winfrey took to the stage at the taping of her final shows to the tune of the Black Eyed Peas' hit song "I Gotta Feeling." What followed was a star-studded extravaganza.

Winfrey was met on stage by actor Tom Hanks, who told her, "You are surrounded by nothing but love. Thank you for what The Oprah Winfrey Show has meant for our lives."

Hanks continued, "Some might say that pulling off this party is darn near a mission impossible."

At that point Mission: Impossible star Tom Cruise walked out onto the stage.

Following that blockbuster opening, a video of testimonials brought some in the audience to tears. The testimonials included comments from fans who said they were inspired by Winfrey, including a woman whose daughter died in her arms and who said Winfrey's show helped her deal with her incredible loss. Another woman who lost her mother and best friend in a car crash said the show "helped me through the darkest days of my life."

Hanks introduced another superstar -- Madonna -- as a "hard-working mother of four." Madonna called Oprah "a self-made woman who has been on top of her game for 25 years...."

The recording star also said Winfrey's construction of a school in Africa has encouraged her to stay the course in her own effort to build a school in Malawi.

"Thank you for inspiring me," Madonna told Winfrey.

The two shows, dubbed "Surprise Oprah! A Farewell Spectacular," are being taped a few blocks from Winfrey's Harpo Studios in Chicago at the 20,000-seat United Center, the city's largest sports and concert venue and the home of the Chicago Bulls and Blackhawks. The NBA Eastern Conference finals between the Bulls and the Miami Heat had to be shifted to make room for Oprah.

Eager fans lined up outside the United Center to see arriving celebrities and be there for the end of an era.

In the days before the taping, Winfrey's producers were promising "the biggest names in movies, music and television." The guest lineup was apparently a surprise to Winfrey.

A veritable who's who of the entertainment industry were spotted in Chicago headed for the taping of the show. Among them were Halle Berry, Rosie O'Donnell, Candice Bergen, Beyonce, Dr. Phil McGraw, Usher, Tom Cruise and Kelsey Grammer.

Harpo Productions got more than 154,000 ticket requests for seats to Tuesday's event. Tickets were free; winners were determined by lottery. The shows will air May 23 and 24. The content of the final episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show, which will air May 25, remains a closely guarded secret.

Winfrey announced in November 2009 that she would end her popular daytime talk show after 25 years. Legions of loyal fans are also in a state of disbelief that the woman who has been a daytime constant through four presidents, the Sept. 11 terror attacks, two wars and several recessions will no longer be there.

Of course, Winfrey will continue her magazine and her new television network OWN, which launched in January. But it's unlikely that there will ever be anything like The Oprah Winfrey Show again.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Author James Frey Returns to 'The Oprah Winfrey Show'

Jeffrey Mayer/WireImage(CHICAGO) -- Five years after he was humbled by Oprah Winfrey on her talk show, author James Frey returned to the program on Monday.

During his 2006 appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show, Frey was rebuked by Winfrey, who had selected his memoir, A Million Little Pieces, for her book club before learning that it was partly fabricated.

On Monday's show, Frey said, "I was dishonest in promoting the book" and that he "made a mistake and at a certain point it came time to pay for it."

Frey said he's never seen the 2006 interview with Winfrey, which he called a "personal car crash."  His latest conversation with the talk show host continues Tuesday.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


How Will Oprah's Final Show Go?

PRNewsFoto/Discovery Communications, George Burns(CHICAGO) -- The Oprah Winfrey Show signs off May 25, but it's still unclear what will take place on the finale.  According to, though, Oprah herself may be the star of the show. 

The source said, "How can one celebrity possibly sum up 25 years of such a groundbreaking show?  Who could possibility come on the show and represent everything Oprah has done?...Only one person could do that and that is Oprah herself."  Another source said, "Her last show will look back at some of her most important and favorite moments from her show."

Oprah's third-to-last and penultimate shows will be glitzy affairs.  They'll tape at Chicago's United Center and feature stars from all walks of life as they pay tribute to the talk show legend.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Oprah Winfrey's Finale Could Command $1 Million Per Ad

PRNewsFoto/Discovery Communications, George Burns(LOS ANGELES) -- When Oprah Winfrey walks away from her talk show in May, she'd better have some bags to carry all her cash. 

A 30-second ad for the May 25 finale is going for $1 million, according to The Hollywood Reporter, which also reports the spots could cost even more, depending on where in the show they air.

The $1 million asking price is rare for a series finale, but it's not the highest in history.  Horizon Media reports a 30-second commercial set advertisers back about $2 million for the 2004 Friends finale, while Seinfeld's finale in 1998 earned $1.42 million per commercial.  A place in the 2005 finale of Everybody Loves Raymond cost $1.22 million.

More recently, last year's finale of Lost earned $900,000 per commercial, while air time during the last episode of 24, also in 2010, went for $650,000.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Hugh Jackman Injured Making Entrance on Oprah's Australian Show

Photo Courtesy - Stephen Lovekin/ WireImage(SYDNEY) -- Hugh Jackman wound up with a black eye Tuesday when he tried to show up on the Australian set of Oprah Winfrey's talk show on a zipline, but hit some lighting equipment along the way.  The 42-year-old actor was looking to burst onto the stage at the Sydney Opera House, where Winfrey taped two shows during her stay Down Under.

Jackman smacked his face and had to have paramedics rush to his aid while the show stopped taping.  Afterward, the X-Men star joked with Winfrey about the incident, saying, "That was so much fun until the end.  Too much fun."

He explained, "I came down waving to everyone, looking over Sydney Harbor, saw my dad, the kids and you [Winfrey], went to pull the brake and then boing!"  He also insisted to fans, "It doesn't hurt."

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Keith Urban Opens Up about Addiction, Rehab on 'Oprah'

Photo Courtesy - Capitol Nashville(CHICAGO) -- Keith Urban and Nicole Kidman appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show Monday, and Urban opened up about his decision to go to rehab back in 2006.  Describing his life as unmanageable, he credits Kidman for helping open his eyes to the problem.  He'd been in treatment for substance abuse twice before and recognized the signs of his addiction.

Urban admitted he was abusing cocaine and alcohol before going into treatment, but he tells Winfrey, "It wouldn't have mattered what it was.  It was a hole in my life that was gonna be filled by the right thing eventually, or it was going to always be filled by the wrong thing."

Urban says he wouldn't have blamed Kidman if she'd walked out on him, but she staged an intervention for him instead.  He says, "I couldn't do this just for her, but to see love in action to that degree at that time in that way, I've never experienced anything like that."  Urban has now been clean for four years.

In addition to the interview, Urban also performed his latest single "Put You in a Song" on the show with Winfrey and Kidman singing along on the front row.  It's the lead release from his latest album, Get Closer.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

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