Category: Oprah Winfrey

Oprah Winfrey absent from Time's 100 Most Influential list

Oprah WinfreyOprah Winfrey has been a constant on Time magazine's annual list of the most influential people in the world, from the inaugural list in 1999 to each subsequent list since it became an annual event in 2004. But the Mighty O's perfect record has come to a crashing halt. For the first time, Winfrey isn't on the list.

To give some perspective, Winfrey, listed nine times, has been on the list more times than Barack Obama (seven times), Hillary Rodham Clinton (seven times), Steve Jobs (five times), Bill Clinton (four times) and the Dalai Lama (three times).

So what happened? Three letters: OWN.

In 2011, Winfrey's juggernaut of a daily talk show was still being syndicated to massive ratings. One year later, the only way to find Winfrey is to seek her out on her cable channel in the vertigo-inducing high numbers of the cable lineup.

Recent ratings successes aside (she drew channel-record high numbers with her interview with Whitney Houston's teenage daughter), the channel has been seen as a disappointment overall, failing to bring in the kind of mass audience that people have come to expect from the Oprah brand.

This year, Winfrey, who took full control of the channel when its struggles became apparent after her daily talk show came to an end last May, had to implement mass layoffs and canceled "The Rosie Show," starring Rosie O'Donnell, which many thought would be the channel's surefire hit.

But there's always room for new blood on the list. And among the first-timers on this year's most influential list: Mitt Romney, Claire Danes, Kristin Wiig and Tim Tebow.


OWN announces four new series

Oprah's success hasn't followed her to OWN

Oprah Winfrey to visit 'CBS This Morning'

Photo: Oprah Winfrey. Credit: Frank Gunn / Associated Press.

'Judge Judy' and her bailiff 'Byrd' are atop the syndication world

"Judge Judy" Sheindlin and bailiff Petri Hawkins Byrd

Since she first arrived on the daytime scene in 1996 and upended the staid court-TV genre with her suffer-no-fools attitude, "Judge Judy" Sheindlin has been a  hit. The sharp-tongued judge has had one constant by her side: Petri Hawkins Byrd,the solidly built, deep-voiced court bailiff who has one of TV's most interesting occupations: He is the guard dog to the pit bull.

Their palpable chemistry, illustrated by sly asides and knowing glances, is one of the key components of "Judge Judy," which has become the undisputed champ of the syndication world, outdistancing favorites such as "Wheel of Fortune" and "Jeopardy." He has been on the show since day one, and worked with Sheindlin as a bailiff when she was a justice in Manhattan Family Court.

The bailiff known as "Byrd" also has an outsized personality: He's a comedian at heart and has performed at "smooth jazz" concerts. He's acquired his own following, complete with a contingent of fans who ask for autographs and imitate his signature gesture — a two-fingered summons to the litigants to enter the courtroom and plead their case.

For more on Byrd and "Judge Judy," read this feature.


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The Sunday Conversation: Shannen Doherty

— Greg Braxton

Photo: "Judge Judy" Sheindlin tries one of her cases as bailiff Petri Hawkins Byrd and an unidentified cameraman look on. Credit: Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times

OWN announces four new series

Oprah Winfrey on "CBS This Morning"

Oprah Winfrey's OWN announced Thursday the addition of four new original prime-time series to its lineup.

The new series include "Elura and Michele Take Staten Island," which will give the network its own set of housewives. The BFFs are former prosecutors who will apparently "tell it like it is" -- to their families and clients who pay for their mediation services. And it'll be a reunion of sorts with the addition of the Iyanla Vanzant series. The author and former talk show host was a frequent guest on Winfrey's talk show. "Iyanla Fix My Life" will center around her self-help advice.  Other shows include "Six Little McGhees" (working title), which has the network taking a stab at the large-family trend that was popular back when "John & Kate Plus 8" was on the air. And "Married to the Army: Alaska" is sort of an unscripted version of "Army Wives."

The network also announced that "Oprah's Master Class" and "Welcome to Sweetie Pie's" have been picked up for additional episodes. In addition, the network noted that TV producer Barry Poznick ("Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?") and comedian Kim Coles ("Living Single") will helm the network’s previously announced new game show titled "Are You Normal, America?" It's a spin-off segment that was a feature on Winfrey's talk show.

Whether these new shows will help turn the network's luck around is to be seen. The 15-month-old network, a joint venture between Winfrey and Discovery Communications Inc., has struggled to build an audience since its launch and has gone through executive restructuring and cutbacks -- and, as we reported, has cost Discovery more than $300 million in programming and marketing costs.

The woes are something Winfrey addressed during a recent appearance on "CBS This Morning," telling the show's co-host/best friend Gayle King that she will "move on to the next thing" if viewers don't respond to the network's mission to transform viewers' lives.



Oprah Winfrey acknowledges her OWN mistakes

OWN cancels Rosie O'Donnell's show

OWN gets record ratings with Whitney Houston family interview


--Yvonne Villarreal

Photo: Oprah Winfrey appears Tuesday on "CBS This Morning" with co-host Charlie Rose. Credit: Heather Wines / CBS

Oprah Winfrey to visit 'CBS This Morning'

Oprah Winfrey is scheduled to make a rare network morning show appearance on April 2, when she joins her BFF Gayle King on "CBS This Morning"
When Gayle King, also known as Oprah Winfrey's best friend, joined the lineup of a revamped "CBS This Morning," it wasn't a matter of if Winfrey would appear on the morning show, but when. The answer has been given: She is set to appear on the April 2 edition.

Although it's a true rarity for the Queen of Talk to appear on a morning program, the fact that her cable network OWN is desperately in need of ratings makes Winfrey much more of a pitch man than she's been in the past.

According to a statement from CBS, Winfrey will discuss "the latest developments at OWN, her Leadership Academy, and life after her daytime talk show."

CBS' entry in the morning show derby underwent a major revamp in January, with a re-emphasis on hard news and the installation of new anchors Gayle King, Charlie Rose and Erica Hill. However, according to the ratings last week, the show was still in third place behind NBC's "Today" and ABC's "Good Morning America," and was down 6% in total viewers from the same week the previous year.

Winfrey recently had a ratings success on her own network when she interviewed the teenage daughter of Whitney Houston. And she is hoping for high ratings for her a jailhouse chat with convicted killer Shaquan Duley.


"CBS This Morning" gets a makeover

CBS 2 and KCAL 9 launch weekend morning newscasts

Oprah's next ratings jackpot? Shaquan Duley's jailhouse chat

-- Patrick Kevin Day

Photo: Gayle King, Stedman Graham and Oprah Winfrey in 2011. Credit: Scott Olson / Getty Images

Oprah's next ratings jackpot? Shaquan Duley's jailhouse chat

Oprah Winfrey traveled to Orangeburg, S.C., last week to tape a jailhouse interview with Shaquan Duley, the 30-year-old mother who killed her two young boys and attempted to cover up the crime  by driving their bodies into a river in August 2010.

Duley pleaded guilty to murder charges and is in jail awaiting sentencing, which is expected to occur on Friday. She faces 30 years to life.

According to the Associated Press, the interview will air on April 1 as part of Winfrey's prime time series "Oprah's Next Chapter." The hope is that the exclusive interview will pay off for the media mogul's struggling OWN network, which saw its biggest ratings to date when Winfrey aired her exclusive interview with Whitney Houston's teenage daughter, Bobbi Kristina, earlier this month. The interview grabbed 3.5 million viewers.

Despite restructuring and a recent round of layoffs and one report by consulting firm SNL Kagan that said OWN could lose $142.9 million in 2012 (a report OWN's parent, Discovery Communications disputed), Winfrey is pushing ahead with a series of high-profile interviews.

Next up? She's made it known on Twitter that she's seeking to talk to George Zimmerman, the Florida man who shot teenager Trayvon Martin and has become the focal point of a national controversy.

"Trying to get an interview with Zimmerman," she wrote last week. "Don't you want to hear him speak the truth? Do you think he will?"

A Zimmerman interview would definitely result in huge ratings. And as everyone knows, Oprah Winfrey almost always gets what she wants.


Big losses for Winfrey's OWN? Discovery refutes report

OWN gets record ratings with Whitney Houston family interview

Layoffs and restructuring at Oprah Winfrey's beleaguered OWN channel

-- Patrick Kevin Day

Photo: Oprah Winfrey. Credit: Andrew H. Walker / Getty Images

OWN gets record ratings with Whitney Houston family interview

Oprah Winfrey's interview with the late Whitney Houston's daughter Bobbi Kristina and her family scored the highest ratings yet for OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network
OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network has not had much to brag about in its first year of programming, with a stream of management upheavals and lackluster ratings.

But the network scored a major victory Sunday, attracting its highest-rated telecast ever with Winfrey's interview of the late Whitney Houston's daughter Bobbi Kristina and her family on "Oprah's Next Chapter."

The episode was watched by 3.5 million total viewers. The previous high for the network was the Jan. 8 installment of "Oprah's Next Chapter" that featured an interview with pastor Joel Osteen.

In the interview, Bobbi Kristina told Oprah that she's still dealing with the grief while living at her mother's home near Atlanta, Georgia. "Sometimes, it's so surreal. I still walk into the house like, 'Mom?'" she said. "But I've accepted it.'"

The teenager also revealed that she slept over with her mother the night before she died. "I slept in her arms all day, all night long," Brown said.

In addition to Brown, Oprah also interviewed Houston family members Pat, the singer's sister-in-law and manager and Gary Houston, the singer's brother.


Determining how Whitney Houston died is likely to take time

Whitney Houston: Frantic efforts to revive stricken singer described

Whitney Houston's death: Medics performed CPR for about 20 minutes

-- Greg Braxton

Photo: Oprah Winfrey, left, talks with Bobbi Kristina, the daughter of late singer Whitney Houston, on "Oprah's Next Chapter." Credit: Harpo Inc. / Associated Press

Oprah Winfrey to interview Whitney Houston's daughter

Whitney Houston and daughter Bobbi Kristina
Oprah Winfrey probably won't need to beg for Nielsen ratings later this month, when she sits down with Bobbi Kristina Brown, the only daughter of the late pop diva Whitney Houston.

Winfrey nabbed an exclusive interview with Bobbi Kristina -- who turns 19 on Sunday -- along with Whitney's brother Gary Houston and the late singer's sister-in-law and manager, Patricia Houston. The interview will air March 11 on OWN, Winfrey's cable network, as part of the "Oprah's Next Chapter" series. 

According to an OWN news release, Bobbi Kristina will share "personal memories of her mom and how she would like the iconic superstar to be remembered. The family also addresses the rumors and speculation surrounding Houston's death."

PHOTOS: Whitney Houston, 1963-2012

Bobbi Kristina has been the subject of speculation herself, with numerous reports suggesting that she has spiraled downward since her mother's death.

During a Winfrey interview with Houston in 2009, the once chart-topping singer admitted buying "kilos" of cocaine, which she would freebase with her then-husband, Bobby Brown. Winfrey remained close with the Houston family and was among the celebrities invited to the singer's funeral in February. 

OWN has struggled in the ratings and undergone behind-the-scenes strife since it premiered in January 2011. On Feb. 12 -- the day after Houston's death -- the former syndicated talk queen tweeted that followers should tune in to "Oprah's Next Chapter" "especially if you have a Nielsen box." Nielsen, which measures TV ratings, considered the tweet a violation of its rules. Winfrey promptly apologized.

Looks like she's found another way to get viewers.


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Oprah Winfrey's Twitter flub angers Nielsen

OWN announces new lineup amid ongoing struggles

-- Scott Collins

Photo: Whitney Houston and her daughter Bobbi Kristina Brown in 2011. Credit: Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times




Jenny McCarthy's not-so-amazing journey: From Oprah to NBC to VH1

Frequent Oprah Winfrey guest and protege Jenny McCarthy made headlines last year when she abruptly abandoned Winfrey's fledgling basic cable channel. McCarthy had been developing a series for OWN, but reportedly became frustrated with the network's creative team and decided to leave, taking her project with her.

Reports then said McCarthy -- who broke through in the 1990s by combining a bouncy personality, sex appeal and a crude, over-the-top comedic style -- was taking her show to NBC.

But less than a year later, McCarthy is winding up back at basic cable. VH1 has announced it is developing "The Jenny McCarthy Show, which a news release says will "celebrate as well as skewer everyone and everything in pop culture, news, fashion TV, movies and the Web." The show, still in the early stages of development, is scheduled to premiere in the summer or fall of this year.

There was no indication why McCarthy, who used to be romantically linked with Jim Carrey, didn't land at NBC. But that network already has a full stable of attractive brash comediennes, including Whitney Cummings and Chelsea Handler as well as Sarah Silverman, who is developing a comedy for NBC.

Also, although McCarthy and her wacky, sexy persona has been featured in recurring guest shots on "Two and a Half Men" as one of Charlie Sheen's lovers and on "Just Shoot Me," she has never broken through in a lead role despite several attempts. She had a short-lived sitcom on NBC in the late 1990s. "Dirty Love," the 2005 film which she co-wrote and starred in, scored several Razzie awards, including "Worst Picture" and "Worst Actress" for McCarthy.


Taylor Armstrong's search for safety

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-- Greg Braxton

Photo: Jenny McCarthy at the American Music Awards in November. Credit: Chris Pizzello / Associated Press


Whitney Houston remembered on TV

Whitney Houston Remembered
 TV networks and cable channels are scheduling a variety of programs to mark the death of Whitney Houston.  

“Extra” 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, NBC: The death of Whitney Houston; Bobbi Kristina Brown; Houston's final interview. 

“Whitney Houston: Death of a Diva” 12:30 and 5:30 p.m., Wednesday 

“Whitney Houston: Last Days of a Legend” 9 p.m. Wednesday, 3:30 and 6 p.m. E!: A look at this music icon's life, career and her final days. 

“Extra” 12:30 p.m., Thursday NBC: Remembering Whitney Houston.

“Whitney Houston: Death of a Diva” 12:30 and 5:30 p.m., Thursday  VH1 

“Entertainment Tonight” 7 p.m., Thursday CBS: Whitney Houston : The death of Whitney Houston. (N)

“The Insider” 7:30 p.m., Thursday CBS: Whitney Houston : Remembering Whitney Houston. (N)

“Access Hollywood” 7:30 p.m., Thursday NBC: Remembering Whitney Houston; Reese Witherspoon. (N)

“Whitney Houston: An Icon Remembered” 8 and 11 p.m., Thursday TV Guide: A reflection on the late singer's life and career from her biggest moments to her impact on the world of music. (N) 

“Whitney Houston: Last Days of a Legend” 9 p.m. Thursday E!: A look at this music icon's life, career and her final days. 

“Remembering Whitney: The Oprah Interview” 9 and 11 p.m., Thursday OWN: In a 2009 interview, the singer discusses her marriage, drug abuse and retreating from the spotlight. (N)

“Whitney Houston's Greatest Moments” 11 p.m., Thursday VH1: (N)

“Entertainment Tonight” 11:30 p.m., Thursday KCAL: Whitney Houston : The death of Whitney Houston. (N)

“Whitney Houston's Greatest Moments” 11:30 a.m.; 3:30 and 11 p.m., Friday VH1:

“Whitney Houston: An Icon Remembered” 5 and 8 p.m., Friday TV Guide: A reflection on the late singer's life and career from her biggest moments to her impact on the world of music.

“Entertainment Tonight” 7 p.m., Friday CBS: Whitney Houston : Funeral preparations for Whitney Houston. (N)

“The Insider” 7:30 p.m., Friday CBS: Whitney Houston : Memorial services for Whitney Houston. (N)

“Access Hollywood” 7:30 p.m., Friday NBC: Remembering Whitney Houston. (N)

“Whitney Houston: Last Days of a Legend” 8 p.m., Friday E!: A look at this music icon's life, career and her final days. 


Movie: “Waiting to Exhale” *** (1995) 8 p.m., Friday Encore: (R) Whitney Houston, Angela Bassett. Relationships preoccupy Phoenix friends: divorcee Bernadine, careerist Savannah, popular Robin, and Gloria, whose ex-husband is gay.

“20/20” 9 p.m., Friday ABC: One Moment in Time: The Life of Whitney Houston : The life of singer Whitney Houston, from her career achievements to her personal battles with addiction; information on Whitney's final days; an interview Diane Sawyer conducted with the singer 10 years ago. (N)

Movie: “The Preacher's Wife” *** (1996) 10:05 p.m., Friday Encore: (PG) Denzel Washington, Whitney Houston. A handsome angel saves a New York Baptist and his wife from spiritual doubt and marital woe.

“Whitney Houston: An Icon Remembered” 11 p.m., Friday TV Guide: A reflection on the late singer's life and career from her biggest moments to her impact on the world of music.

“Entertainment Tonight” 11:30 p.m., Friday KCAL: Whitney Houston : Funeral preparations for Whitney Houston. (N)

“Whitney Houston: Life, Death, Music” 11 a.m., Saturday CNN: Whitney Houston Memorial Coverage: Piers Morgan and Soledad O’Brien anchor. (N)

“Whitney Houston's Greatest Moments” 11 a.m.; 5 p.m., Saturday VH1:

“Whitney Houston: An Icon Remembered” 6 p.m., Saturday TV Guide: A reflection on the late singer's life and career from her biggest moments to her impact on the world of music.

Movie: “The Bodyguard” ** (1992) 8 p.m., Saturday Lifetime: (R) Kevin Costner, Whitney Houston. An ex-Secret Service agent falls for his client, an actress/singer someone wants dead before the Academy Awards.

“Biography” 11 p.m., Saturday Lifetime: Whitney Houston.

“Whitney Houston: An Icon Remembered” 11 a.m. and 6 p.m, Sunday TV Guide: A reflection on the late singer's life and career from her biggest moments to her impact on the world of music. 

“CNN Presents” 5, 8 and 11p.m., Sunday CNN: A look at the life and death of Whitney Houston. (N)

Movie: “The Bodyguard” ** (1992) 5 p.m., Sunday Lifetime: (R) Kevin Costner, Whitney Houston. An ex-Secret Service agent falls for his client, an actress/singer someone wants dead before the Academy Awards.

“Whitney Houston's Greatest Moments” 6:30 p.m., Sunday VH1:


Whitney Houston | 1963-2012

Whitney Houston funeral: Invite-only, with no public memorial

-- Compiled by Ed Stockly

Photo: Whitney Houston, left, with Diane Sawyer in 2002. Credit: Handout

Oprah Winfrey's Twitter flub

Oprah Winfrey's Twitter flub
Twitter gaffes happen to the best of us — even Oprah Winfrey.

The retired talk show queen is the latest celebrity user to eat her words, issuing an apology Monday after sending out a blast the night before to her Twitter followers, particularly those with a Nielsen box, to watch her cable channel.

“Every 1 who can please turn to OWN especially if you have a Neilsen box,” Winfrey tweeted to her roughly 9 million followers shortly after 9 p.m. on Sunday.

On the surface, it simply appeared like a desperate plea for viewers for the struggling network — the message coincided with the airing of a new episode of her show “Oprah’s Next Chapter.” And while it might still be that, it’s also considered a major no-no. The audience measurement company samples roughly 25,000 households across the country and works to ensure that viewers in the sample are not pressured to change their viewing habits.

"In accordance with our policies and procedures, Nielsen is reviewing this incident with our clients, and we may withhold, breakout and/or make a note in the ratings," said a Nielsen spokesperson. "We take any violation of our policy seriously and will work with clients to resolve the situation."

As is customary with Twitter flubs, the tweet in question has disappeared — but you can still find her responses to users who criticized her tweet.  "I removed the tweet at the request of Nielsen," Winfrey said in a statement. "I intended no harm and apologize for the reference." While it's the first time she's singled out Nielsen users, it's not the first time Winfrey has reminded her followers to tune to OWN.


Oprah Winfrey is bringing her annual Oscar special to OWN

Oprah shines, Ratner controversy fades at honorary Oscars gala

— Yvonne Villarreal

Photo: Oprah Winfrey attends a news conference at the inaugural graduation of the class of 2011 at Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls on Jan. 14 in Henley on Klip, South Africa. Credit:  Michelly Rall/Getty Images.

Oprah Winfrey is bringing her annual Oscar special to OWN

Oprah Winfrey

It's been two years since Barbara Walters put an end to her annual Oscar special and almost a year since Oprah ended her daily talk show. But that doesn't mean Oscar fans will go lacking in gauzy, feel-good sit-downs with Oscar nominees this year. Oprah has announced her plan to begin airing an annual Oscar special on her cable channel, OWN, beginning this year.

The three lucky Oprah interviewees/Oscar nominees are "The Help's" Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer (lead actress and supporting actress nominees, respectively) and "Moneyball's" Jonah Hill (supporting actor nominee).

During the run of Oprah's daily talk show, she hosted a traditional Monday post-Oscars show with the winners to great ratings success. The new two-hour special will sit the nominees down before the big night. It'll even air well in advance of the Oscars, on Feb. 15. (The awards are handed out Feb. 26.)

In early January, Oprah's current show, "Oprah's Next Chapter," premiered with an average of 924,000 viewers during its first month on the air.

The Oscar special probably won't lack in enthusiasm. Octavia Spencer couldn't quite contain herself on Twitter, posting on Feb. 7, "OMG a surreal day! two words OPRAH WINFREY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

The Oprah side of that enounter will be seen on Wednesday.


-- Patrick Kevin Day
Photo: Oprah Winfrey. Credit: George Burns / OWN

Oprah Winfrey Network announces new series amid ongoing struggles

Rosie and oprah
Oprah Winfrey, the founder of OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network, announced the launch of the network's new prime-time series, "Oprah's Next Chapter," which will showcase the former talk show host traveling around the country and having encounters with celebrities and others.

The announcement comes in the wake of reports of continuing struggles for the fledgling OWN. Peter Liguori, chief operating officer of Discovery Communications Inc., which is a co-owner of OWN, is leaving the company at the end of the year. A prime-time talk show hosted by Rosie O'Donnell, one of OWN's marquee stars, premiered with almost 500,000 viewers but now is averaging about half that audience. Winfrey's best friend, Gayle King, is leaving her OWN talk show to join CBS' "The Early Show."

The two-hour premiere of "Oprah's Next Chapter" on Jan. 1, 2012, will feature Aerosmith lead singer and "American Idol" judge Steven Tyler from his New Hampshire home. Subsequent episodes will show Winfrey traveling to Haiti with actor Sean Penn nearly two years after the devastating earthquake that killed more than 300,000 people, and a visit with "Star Wars" creator George Lucas at his Skywalker Ranch. She also has a slumber party at chef Paula Deen's Georgia estate and travels to a small town in Iowa devoted to the practice of transcendental meditation.

"After 25 years, I got myself out of the studio chairs," Winfrey said in a statement. "I moved into the next chapter, and I am having more fun than ever — moving around the country and the world talking to people I'm really interested in getting to know and I think viewers will be, too."


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'South Park' tackles Penn State controversy

— Greg Braxton

Photo: Oprah Winfrey (right) with Rosie O'Donnell on the premiere of "The Rosie Show." Credit: George Burns / Harpo / AP




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