- WHO IS SHE? -
Billionaire media executive and philanthropist Oprah Winfrey is best known for hosting her own internationally popular talk show from 1986 to 2011. From there she launched her own television network, OWN.
Who Is Oprah Winfrey?
Oprah Winfrey is a talk show host, media executive, actress and billionaire philanthropist. She’s best known for being the host of her own, wildly popular program, The Oprah Winfrey Show, which aired for 25 seasons, from 1986 to 2011. In 2011, Winfrey launched her own TV network, the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN).
Born in the rural town of Kosciusko, Mississippi, Winfrey moved to Baltimore in 1976, where she hosted People Are Talking. Afterward, she was recruited by a Chicago TV station to host her own morning show.
Early Life and Education
Winfrey was born in the rural town of Kosciusko, Mississippi, on January 29, 1954. After a troubled adolescence in a small farming community, where she was sexually abused by a number of male relatives and friends of her mother, Vernita, Winfrey moved to Nashville to live with her father, Vernon, a barber and businessman.
In 1971, Winfrey entered Tennessee State University. She began working in radio and television broadcasting in Nashville.
Early Broadcasting Career
In 1976, Winfrey moved to Baltimore, Maryland, where she hosted the TV chat show People Are Talking. The show became a hit and Winfrey stayed with it for eight years, after which she was recruited by a Chicago TV station to host her own morning show, A.M. Chicago.
Within several months, Winfrey's open, warm-hearted personal style had won her 100,000 more viewers than Donahue and had taken her show from last place to first in the ratings.
'The Oprah Winfrey Show'
Winfrey launched The Oprah Winfrey Show in 1986 as a nationally syndicated program that ran for 25 years, until 2011. With its placement on 120 channels and an audience of 10 million people, the show grossed $125 million by the end of its first year, of which Winfrey received $30 million.
She soon gained ownership of the program from ABC, drawing it under the control of her new production company, Harpo Productions ('Oprah' spelled backwards) and making more and more money from syndication.
In 1994, with talk shows becoming increasingly trashy and exploitative, Winfrey pledged to keep her show free of tabloid topics. Although ratings initially fell, she earned the respect of her viewers and was soon rewarded with an upsurge in popularity.
Projects with Harpo have included the highly-rated 1989 TV miniseries, The Women of Brewster Place, in which Winfrey also starred.
In 2004, Winfrey signed a new contract to continue The Oprah Winfrey Show through the 2010-11 season. At the time, the syndicated show was seen on nearly 212 U.S. stations and in more than 100 countries worldwide.
In 2009, Winfrey announced that she would be ending her program when her contract with ABC ended, in 2011.
Clancy's comment: I've always found her to be a very smart and articulate woman, and I'm a big fan of smart women.