Farewell, Oprah

 In Blog

May 26, 2011
You may love Oprah, or you might feel more like Joan Rivers, who tweeted earlier today:  “I’m so tired of Oprah already. The woman truly thinks she’s God! Today she’s at Barnes & Noble signing copies of the Bible.”

Love her or hate her, everyone is buzzing about Oprah this week.  And ratings don’t lie. The final Oprah show aired Wednesday and received its highest ratings since 1994.  In fact all week her ratings have been doubling recent averages.

For her fans, of which there are millions in 150 countries, the Oprah show has become an addictive and irreplaceable daily escape from the ordinary and the disconnected.  And so there are lessons to be learned from her for radio shows and other media outlets as well. Aren’t we all in our own way trying to become addictive and irreplaceable in the minds of our fans? Whether or not you believe in the Oprah phenomenon, there’s no denying her brand.  And there’s no denying that she has executed great programming year after year by following the same rules we recommend in the development of your own morning show and morning show brand.

Study her character profile. Her character profile is as good as it gets.  Her point of view is crystal clear: the self-made, compassionate optimist.    She has both endearing qualities (honest, encouraging, warm, self-deprecating, spiritually grounded, emotionally an open book – she cries and laughs openly) and character quirks she can joke about (materialistic; fights weight issues; has crushes on celebrities like we do).  She has even shared with us her inner conflicts over the years: feeling worthy, wanting to be a mother, struggling to overcome the shame of childhood sexual abuse. 

The end result?  A deep, genuine, likable character that her fans root for and support. What are you known for?  Is it what you want to be known for?

Her show created content that always packed an emotional punch.  Yes, she touched on prime content for women with a likable cast of characters – relationships of all kinds; self-image and esteem; pop culture; “feel good” extravaganzas of body, mind, spirit, home and undergarment makeovers.  But even more importantly, she had a vision

After a show about white supremacy, Oprah made a conscious decision to “never again use her platform to put that kind of energy out into the world.” Her mission became to provide a daily dose of positive energy and honesty, even when discussing difficult topics like children of divorce, anorexia, the loss of a child. The intention was about healing and forgiveness.  Her viewers were drawn to the gospel of Oprah: “Live your best life!” “Take responsibility for your life!”  “Pay it forward!”  (And her finale gave us a dose of it to last a lifetime, creating a primer on the most important life lessons learned over the course of the show’s 25 years.) 

A likable, unique and memorable lead character? Check.  Compelling content?  Check.  The final element of any great show is flawless execution.  With her Harpo team, her show delivered momentum and drama by routinely and painstakingly hooking us in with what we were about to feel coming up next, later, tomorrow.  Are we going to be surprised?  Will we be outraged? Hopeful?  Viewers decide to go to the grocery store later, during the local news.  Can’t turn off the TV now! 

The Oprah show was masterful.  I appreciate the show as a student of the media and as a true Oprah fan. Yes, I subscribe to her magazine. Yes, I did the Eckhart Tolle webinar as part of her book club. Like many of you, my husband doesn’t get it. One day he walked in on me watching the Oprah show about puppy mills. I was crying – no, weeping. He asked me why I didn’t just turn off the TV.  For those who are fans of the show, you know what it means to feel a good kind of sad. She held our emotions in a safe place.  And when she hugged a teary guest who was hurting, it felt like she was hugging me, tearing up at home.  Oprah, I miss you already

-Angela Perelli


Click here to learn more about Angela

Leave a Comment

Contact Us

We're not around right now. But you can send us an email and we'll get back to you, asap.