Just try saying goodbye to Oprah Winfrey; she'll find you
By now we have had plenty of time to mourn Oprah Winfrey. Thanks to Winfrey’s network, OWN, we have been sitting a yearlong shiva, watching the Christ-like Last Days through a show called "Oprah Behind the Scenes." We’ve also witnessed celebrity after celebrity make their pilgrim’s progress to Chicago to tell Oprah how she’s brightened the lives of millions. (Because if there’s anyone who reflects the will of the people, it’s Madonna.) And traditional newspapers are already going on about Oprah as if she’s no longer alive. (“The Oprah Winfrey age comes to an end,” the Daily Mail keened.)
What we haven’t really had is a reality check: This woman isn’t going anyplace — at least, anyplace where a camera can’t find her. She is barred from returning to a talk show until 2012, but that’s exactly what she plans to do once January comes. "Oprah's Next Chapter" is expected to feature footage with the megastar roughly three times a week. No, that’s not a daily dose of feel-good-yes-I-can-isms, but it’s a schedule that leaves Oprah plenty of opportunities to remind us about what soap she prefers or how chummy she is with Jennifer Aniston.
In the meantime, Winfrey isn’t exactly shying away from celebrity, either. (There is no way that a person who shares her camping trips with the planet is ever, ever going to abandon life in front of a camera.) In September, Winfrey’s broadcast contract frees OWN to present vintage Oprah episodes, and the network has said it plans to do so, including 60 with new intros featuring Winfrey herself.
Oprah has said she wants to leave behind the grind of a daily TV talk show. That we can believe. But we here at MOG will bet you dollars to doughnuts (if not Sprinkles cupcakes — thanks for the recommendation, Oprah!) that the billionaire will be on her deathbed before she ever, truly, steps down. Her daily talk show may be at an end, but the Oprah Winfrey Age will go on for as long as Oprah needs to talk about herself and her friends in front of a lens. And that day is a long, long way off.
— Leslie Gornstein
Photo: Oprah Winfrey in January. Credit: Chris Pizzello / Associated Press.