Saturday, November 21, 2009

End of the Oprah era

So Oprah announced that 2011 will be her last year doing her show.

I've never much watched her show because it always ran during the day. So I am not really a fan in the sense of being a loyal follower who watches her show.

But I have long admired her for her talent, her accomplishments, her range of expertise, her business acumen, and the fact that she became the rarest of all things: the transcendent entertainer.

She is incredibly talented, and her ability to connect with an audience is probably without parallel in our time. Her reach was impressive. Her book list spawned probably hundreds of thousands of book clubs around the world devoted to reading her selections. She could make a best seller with her simple recommendation.

She is and always was a class act. Very human, but didn't really cross the line into schmaltz. She opened her own life from time to time up to her audience, like with her struggles with weight. But I never felt that she relied on the sensational or the worst of our pop culture reflexes to keep her audience.

Rather, I think she elevated her audience. She often dealt with serious topics, and she had a way of asking tough questions in a way that did not intimidate. As I say, I didn't watch her show, so my impressions come from the things I would see reported about her show from the other media outlets. But she was not afraid of controversial topics, and handled them very well.

She is still quite young, so she will obviously be around a long time, and will continue to contribute to our culture in many ways. So I don't want this to sound like some kind of professional obituary.

Far from it. I can't wait to see what Oprah does now that she isn't saddled by the responsibility of a daily talk show. I am quite certain her politics are much different than my own, but that doesn't matter here.

Oprah is one of the most talented people of our generation. Whatever she chooses to do, she will have a huge impact. It will be exciting to watch.

1 comment:

Dean Sanderson said...

the only talk show personality I can imagine filling Oprah's shoes would be Ellen (she already goes by her first name too)