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Category: Oprah Winfrey

Oprah Winfrey admits OWN mistakes, forgives herself in nice note

Oprah Winfrey

Oprah Winfrey has always been pretty ingenious about self-marketing, even when it comes to supposed failure.

Tidying up the first year at OWN, the Oprah Winfrey Network, the award-winning TV host and mogul is talking about her mistakes in launching the channel as well as other content and operational moves that led to an underwhelming start.

"I didn't think it was going to be easy. If I knew then what I know now, I might have made some different choices," Winfrey confessed to "CBS Morning," co-anchored by her BFF Gayle King. 

"If I were writing a book about it, I could call it '101 Mistakes,' " she added.

OWN launched with an ambitious slate of programming, including a documentary of the female-to-male transition of Chaz Bono and a reality project on acting family Ryan and Tatum O'Neal. Nothing caught on with viewers, however, aside from the Oprah-led speaker series "Masterclass."

"It was like having the wedding before you were ready, and walking down the aisle saying, 'Oooh, should we really be doing this?' " Winfrey told King of her hesitation in letting the network go live while she remained in Chicago wrapping her eponymous talk show.

But Oprah is not totally unforgiving of herself. In the new issue of O magazine, she pens a letter to a much younger Oprah, with some sage words.

"Even then you understood that success was a process," Oprah wrote to a photo of her 20-year-old self, just starting out as a reporter,  "and that moving with the flow of life and not against it would be your greatest achievement.

 

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— Matt Donnelly
twitter.com/MattDonnelly

Photo: Oprah Winfrey speaks at the third annual Diane Von Furstenberg awards at the United Nations on March 9. Credit: Andrew H. Walker / Getty Images.

 


Oprah courting Maria Shriver to boost OWN ratings?

Oprah wants Maria Shriver for OWN
Oprah Winfrey did her fair share of stories on plastic surgery during her syndicated talk show days, so let's say the mogul knows when it's time for a face-lift. 

That's precisely what reports say she's doing with her floundering OWN television network, which recently laid off 30 staffers and has failed to deliver Winfrey-caliber ratings since launch.

Rumor has it Winfrey is courting journalist and estranged Arnold Schwarzenegger spouse Maria Shriver to climb aboard for her own show. 

"Oprah knows she needs to pull a rabbit out of the hat, literally," RadarOnline cites a source as saying.

"She has been in discussions with Maria for a very long time about doing a news/special interest driven show for OWN. However, Oprah has ramped up the pressure in the past several weeks."

Winfrey and Shriver are longtime pals, prone to power dinners in Beverly Hills and sweet tributes from one iconic femme to the other. The collaboration makes sense and clearly could fetch some dollars from advertisers. 

The catch: Winfrey made a presumably winning bet with Rosie O'Donnell, who returned to television with a chat show for OWN that was canceled last week after poor performance. 

The Radar report goes on to speculate that Shriver is in the perfect place to accept a high-profile offer like this. Her camera-friendly son Patrick is about college age, leaving her with only her youngest, Christopher, to tend to, freeing her schedule for an OWN project. 

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Jaycee Dugard steps out publicly for DVF Awards

Oprah Winfrey's 'Favorite Things' reportedly add up to $23.8 million

Oprah's long goodbye: Maria Shriver, Tom Cruise, Tyler Perry pay homage 

-- Matt Donnelly
twitter.com/MattDonnelly

Photo: Oprah Winfrey speaks onstage at the 3rd annual Diane Von Furstenberg awards at the United Nations on March 9 in New York. Credit: Andrew H. Walker / Getty Images

 


Jaycee Dugard steps out publicly for DVF Awards

Oprahjayceestory

This post has been corrected, as detailed below.

Jaycee Dugard stepped out publicly on Friday for the first time since her rescue in 2009. The kidnapping survivor was in good company at the United Nations in New York for Diane von Furstenberg’s DVF Awards ceremony, where she met fellow honorees like Oprah Winfrey.

Dugard received the Inspiration Award for her JAYC Foundation, which aims to help families “recovering from abduction and the aftermath of other traumatic experiences.”

People reports that, taking the microphone, Dugard told the crowd: "My name is Jaycee Dugard and I want to say that, because for a long time I wasn't able to say my name and so it feels good. I am truly honored to be here tonight with these amazing women who have done and been through so much more than me."

Despite her horrific experience, she said it was her mother’s hope that helped her go on. "And I did live. I have two beautiful daughters who I love with all my heart,” she said.

Dugard, 31, made headlines first when she was abducted at age 11 as she walked to bus stop from her  South Lake Tahoe-area home, and again 18 years later when she was rescued with her daughters from her kidnappers, Phillip and Nancy Garrido.

However, her “hope is to be remembered for what I do,” not the kidnapping that stole so many years of her life.

Winfrey, who received the lifetime achievement award, showered Dugard with praise, saying: "I am so proud of you. You are using your courage and your strength and your power to show the world that you care."

Winfrey got her share of the spotlight too. The Washington Post reports that Oprah shared a hug with friend Von Furstenberg, who told the crowd: “She is the most formidable person I have ever met in my life. What is extraordinary about Oprah is that she has done so much and yet she is still a little girl. She is still very pure and you can make her cry and laugh so quickly.”

Von Furstenberg and the Diller-von Furstenberg Family Foundation created the DVF Awards in 2010 to “recognize and support women who are using their resources, commitment and visibility to transform the lives of other women.”

Each of the five honorees -- Dugard, Winfrey, Layli Miller-Muro of the Tahirih Justice Center, Panmela Castro of Rede Nami in Brazil and Chouchou Namegabe of the South Kivu’s Assn. of Women Journalists in the Democratic Republic of Congo -- received $50,000 for their cause.

[For the record, 7:25 p.m. March 10: An earlier version of this post incorrectly said the awards took place on Saturday.]

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-- Emily Christianson

Photo: Oprah Winfrey, left, and Jaycee Dugard. Credit: Andrew H. Walker / Getty Images


Rosie O'Donnell gets a crazy check from Oprah; talks new love

Rosie O'Donnell and Oprah Winfrey announce OWN's "The Rosie Show"

Rosie O'Donnell's big return to television comes Monday in the form of "The Rosie Show" for Oprah Winfrey's OWN Network -- but the time slot came with a little mental health check from the boss.

When first approached by Winfrey come back to the small screen, O'Donnell invited the daytime queen to her home for a four-hour meeting. After they decided to work together, O'Donnell asked Oprah, "Tell me the truth, did you come here to see if I was insane?"

"She said, 'A little bit,'" O'Donnell told "Nightline."

Glad they cleared that up! O'Donnell has been on a considerable media tour hyping the 7 p.m. nightly program, on which she'll interview celebs, highlight musical acts and button up each broadcast with a mini game show.

In addition to the new job, O'Donnell has a new love in her life: New York-based executive Michelle Rounds.

"I thought she was a 28-year-old heterosexual girl, because that's what she looked like to me," O'Donnell said of their summer meet-cute at a Starbucks.

"She's a 40-year-old gay woman ... . I think that if I would have known she was gay I wouldn't have been brave enough to talk to her." 

Check out more of O'Donnell's "Nightline" chat below.

  

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-- Matt Donnelly
twitter.com/MattDonnelly

Photo: Rosie O'Donnell, left, and Oprah Winfrey in September at a Chicago news conference announcing "The Rosie Show." Credit: M. Spencer Green / Associated Press



Obama birthday party lures Chris Rock, Tom Hanks, Jay-Z and more

Jennifer Hudson greets President Barack Obama

Celebs turned out for President Obama's 50th birthday party, despite some earlier speculation to the contrary, with Chris Rock giving a prompt report on the festivities Thursday night.

"Just left the Presidents birthday party at the White House," the comedian and actor said on Twitter. "Herbie Hancock played, Stevie Wonder sang and yes they did the electric slide. A great night."

Other famous faces included basketball's Charles Barkley and Grant Hill, Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson, Hill Harper of "CSI: NY" and Jay-Z, according to Politico.

(Beyoncé, a.k.a. Mrs. Jay-Z, was spotted earlier this week at a mobile home park in New Jersey, shooting a new music video -- unfortunately her day at work was crashed by an egg-throwing intruder.)

Hanks did double duty Thursday with the good wishes, shouting out to his son and that other guy, "21! Happy Birthday, Chet! You too, Mr. President (50). Hanx."

Festivities reportedly began with chicken, ribs, hamburgers, hot dogs, pasta and salad in the Rose Garden, followed by a choice of apple, peach, huckleberry or cherry pie. Along with Michelle Obama, the first daughters presented Dad with a cake before everyone moved inside for music and dancing.

Oprah Winfrey BFF Gayle King represented the Chicago crowd, but 49th-birthday pal Winfrey didn't make it. Perhaps the gift she delivered in the week, volunteering to step up for his 2012 campaign as she had in 2008, made up for it?

"I'm in his corner for whatever he needs me to do," Oprah said.

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-- Christie D'Zurilla
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Photo: Jennifer Hudson greets President Obama at a birthday-themed fundraising event -- where Hudson and others performed -- in Chicago on Aug. 3, 2011. The next night, Stevie Wonder would perform at the White House for the president's 50th birthday party. Credit: Carolyn Kaster / Associated Press


Is President Obama looking at an unstarry 50th birthday?

President Obama's 50th birthday: Birthday wishes from supporters

Before President Obama turned 50, he had to pass 49 -- marking that birthday by dining privately with Oprah Winfrey and her starry pals in Chicago while First Lady Michelle Obama took a trip to Spain with daughter Malia and some friends.

For the president's 50th birthday, the star power might be turned down a notch, however.

Festivities on Thursday will include a working morning (guess he didn't want to use a floating holiday?) an afternoon reception with senior staff in the Blue Room of the White House and a gathering that night at home with family and friends, including some of the hometown crowd flying in. Don't worry, folks: The Obamas say they're paying for that last one.

We're guessing the prez will welcome that low-key party at home, in the wake of a pair of gala fundraisers set for Wednesday night in Chicago.

The first, a $35,800-a-head, 1,000-person, birthday-themed event starting at 4 p.m. Chicago time, promises music from Chicago-based band OK Go, Jennifer Hudson and Herbie Hancock, with the money split between the president's reelection fund and the Democratic National Committee. Later, guests will mingle with the president at another, more intimate party -- if 80 to 100 guests is considered intimate.

But which famous faces will show? Maybe not so many.

The Wrap discovered Obama admirers including Jamie Foxx, Anne Hathaway, Scarlett Johansson and David Geffen would be otherwise occupied -- and even Oprah's rep was staying mum on the will-she-or-won't-she front.

At least Hollywood turned out for the prez at the White House correspondents dinner in May -- assuming they weren't there for Seth Myers.

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-- Christie D'Zurilla
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The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

Photo: An activist group that supports President Obama wishes him a happy birthday from New York on Wednesday. Obama turns 50 on Thursday. Credit: Andrew Burton / Getty Images


Oprah Winfrey enjoying vacation with pizza, summer reading after show's end

Oprahvacation2 Oprah Winfrey is enjoying a summer vacation after  the emotional end to her 25-year-old talk show. The mogul emailed fans on Wednesday to say that, after a long goodbye, she's indulging in pizza and beach reading at an undisclosed location.

"A week ago, I was saying goodbye. Now finally away on [vacation]. Relaxing. Trying not to eat too much. But had 2 slices of the best pizza ever in life today. WHITE TRUFFLE!" Oprah wrote. 

"Had to stop myself. Could have eaten the whole thin sliced, home made thing."

She's also curled up with "Unbroken," the Lauren Hillenbrand WWII novel that she can't tear herself away from. "I know so many of you have read already. It's as good as everybody says. 72 pgs. in, can't put it down," the email read.

In true Oprah fashion, she closed with thanks for the overwhelming response to her exit.

"Hope your summer's off to a good start, no matter where you are. My new ambition is to make a treasure of the small moments," she said. "All of your emails are mini treasures. As was that White Truffle pizza."

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-- Matt Donnelly
Twitter.com/MattDonnelly

Photo: Oprah waves goodbye on the final telecast of "The Oprah Winfrey Show." Credit: George Burns / Harpo

 


Oprah Winfrey's 'Favorite Things' reportedly add up to $23.8 million

Oprah Winfrey's favorite things cost more than $23.8 million Oprah Winfrey's favorite thing must not have been money ... or she just had a few million dollars to spare, because the cost of her "Oprah's Favorite Things" audience giveaways adds up to about $23.8 million.

Oh, to be an accountant on "The Oprah Winfrey Show."

The daytime diva wrapped her 25-year daytime talk show run Wednesday to the best ratings she's had since 1994. But Winfrey also wrapped the hopes of fans being the all-too-excited recipients in that giveaway-happy studio audience.

The total cost of the holiday freebies she's given away since 2002 comes out to about $23,809,050 -- we have Jezebel to thank for calculating that number.

Computations were based on the items' retail price and then multiplied by 300, the number of people usually in Winfrey's studio audience.

Some of those "Favorite Things," with individual prices shown, include:

Origins Perfect World White Tea Body Cream ($30)

Frontgate's Portable DVD Player ($400)

Croissants ($4)

Burberry coat ($700)

Burberry purse ($700)

BlackBerry 7105T from T-Mobile ($300)

$1,000 credit card

LG HDTV Refrigerator ($3,800)

Elfa Customizable Closet System ($1,000)

Tory Burch "Silver Anniversary" tote bag and flat shoes ($450)

Sony Vaio FJ Notebook ($1,500)

H&M swimsuit ($15)

"O's Guide to Life" ($30)

iPad with Scrabble app ($500)

UGG Australia sparkle boots ($175)

A 2012 Volkswagen Beetle ($22,000)

For the full list, click here.

Granted, many of the items were donated by their respective companies, including the Pontiac G-6's she screamingly distributed in 2004. But we hope the giveaways will continue in some form at OWN.

As for the hostess with the mostest, she plans to take it easy for a while.

"Staying in pj's all day," she tweeted Thursday. "Getting hair braided ... for summer vaca[tion]. Reading all ur emails!"

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-- Nardine Saad
Twitter.com/NardineSaad


Jimmy Kimmel joins Boyz II Men — to say goodbye to Oprah Winfrey

Boyz II Men is back (back, again) just in time for Oprah Winfrey's last episode and with a little help from Jimmy Kimmel.

"It's So Hard to Say Goodbye to Oprah Winfrey" made its debut on "Jimmy Kimmel Live" on Tuesday night to bid adieu to the daytime diva. The smooth-singing boyz from Motown Philly spoofed their classic song by giving it an even more melodramatic spin.

Kimmel filled in as the fourth member of the group, and, may we say, we may actually prefer it this way. (Whatever it takes to get them to make more sweet music!)

Watch the clip above and tell us your favorite part in comments.

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— Nardine Saad
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Just try saying goodbye to Oprah Winfrey; she'll find you

OprahBy 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.

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Photo: Oprah Winfrey in January. Credit: Chris Pizzello / Associated Press.


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