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Adding It All Up: The Oprah Winfrey Show by the Numbers
Ever wonder how many times Oprah has cried on camera, or how many shows were filmed in Texas? We've done the math.
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Beijing Olympics
Most guests at one time.........176 (for the "Welcome Home Team USA's Olympic Stars" episode, September 2008)

"The Olympic medalist episode was one of the most challenging for us to put together. My team booked all 176 athletes in less than a week. Each of us was in charge of a different group—'You're women's volleyball!' 'You're BMXers!' When Oprah came out and the confetti started falling, I cried like a baby. It was such a huge feat." —Cindy Mori, booking and talent relations director

Number of countries in which the Oprah show is broadcast................145

Hour at which it's most commonly broadcast in the U.S........4 P.M.

Because the show aired just after school, it found a special following among teachers—and sneaky students. A few of their stories:
"I started watching in 1995 when I was a new first-grade teacher. I loved my job, but was overwhelmed and filled with doubts. Every afternoon I'd tune in from my classroom while I prepped for the next day. And when the show ended at 5 o'clock, I gave myself permission to go home." —Jennifer Liebi-Zelazny, 39, Los Angeles

"I was 10 when I saw my first episode with my two older sisters,and from that day on, 4 P.M. meant sisterhood: We were bonded in secrecy because we were watching instead of doing homework." —Julia Kim, 35, Washington, D.C.

"Both my parents were teachers, so we spent most of our afternoons together. One day my dad told us he'd heard about a great new show called Ophra. We watched in our kitchen and were hooked from the start. My dad died in 1992, and called her "Ophra" till the end. —Gwynne Lynch, 42, Swarthmore, Pennsylvania

Number of audience members per show...............between 315 and 365
"The trick was getting the right audience for a given topic. Back in the day, we'd put voice-overs at the end of soap operas: 'If you're cheating on your husband, call this number.' Then we'd spend all afternoon answering the phones: 'Oprahpleasehold. Oprahpleasehold. Oprahpleasehold...'" —Sally Lou Loveman, senior audience producer
Approximate total of audience members over 25 seasons........1.3 million

Letters received via U.S. mail over 25 seasons.........................20 million+

Episode that got the most happy mail: the 2004 season premiere, when 276 audience members received brand-new Pontiac G6s

Episode that got the most angry mail: the 2006 show on which James Frey admitted to fudging parts of his memoir, A Million Little Pieces—an Oprah Book Club selection. (Some blamed Oprah for not vetting the book; others, for being too hard on Frey.)

Approximate number of guests since 1986..........28,000

Number of guests who were U.S. presidents........................5 (not to mention 5 First Ladies, 7 princes, 6 princesses, 1 reigning queen, 1 former queen, 1 earl, 1 lord, 1 count, and 1 duchess)

Appearances by Celine Dion, the most frequent female guest (not counting Gayle King, 139)..............................27

Appearances by Chris Rock, the most frequent male guest (not counting Dr. Phil, 118; Dr. Oz, 62; and Nate Berkus, 51)........................25

And in case you were wondering: Appearances by Suze Orman......26

Number of selections chosen for Oprah's Book Club................65

Number of schools, in 12 countries, built by Oprah's Angel Network......55

Number of Favorite Things chosen since 1996........................283

We Take the Cake's total profits in 2004, just before their key lime Bundt cake was chosen...........$19

We Take the Cake's total sales by the end of 2005.....................$840,000

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    The Oprah Winfrey Network
    Oprah Winfrey and Discovery Communications to Form New Joint Venture: OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network

    OWN to Premiere in 2009 with Distribution in 70 Million U.S. Homes Will Be Simulcast in HD and Includes the Power of Oprah.com
    Oprah and David Zaslav
    Chicago, IL and Silver Spring, MD — Tuesday, January 15, 2008 — In an unprecedented deal, Oprah Winfrey and Discovery Communications announced plans today to create OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network. The new multi-platform media venture will be designed to entertain, inform and inspire people to live their best lives. OWN will debut in 2009 in more than 70 million homes, on what is currently the Discovery Health Channel. The venture will also include the award-winning digital platform, Oprah.com.

    "Fifteen years ago, I wrote in my journal that one day I would create a television network, as I always felt my show was just the beginning of what the future could hold," said Oprah Winfrey, who will serve as chairman of OWN. "For me, the launch of The Oprah Winfrey Network is the evolution of the work I've been doing on television all these years and a natural extension of my show."

    "There is no stronger voice than Oprah Winfrey in engaging, motivating and connecting people to live healthier lives. Oprah has inspired me personally, and through this new venture, Oprah's talent and drive will have a dedicated multimedia platform to empower, engage and connect with people on-air and on-line," said David Zaslav, President and CEO of Discovery Communications. "At Discovery, our goals are to improve the quality of the networks while expanding the reach and success of our web presence. This venture does both, and having Oprah as Chairman and creative leader makes OWN a very unique property in a crowded media landscape."

    OWN's mission is to create multiple platforms for women, men and their families with a purpose and a passion: to celebrate life, to inspire and entertain, empowering viewers around the world to live their best lives, and by doing so, lift the lives of those around them in ever-widening circles.

    In addition to providing her talent, and personal commitment, Winfrey will have full editorial control over the joint venture and will be responsible for OWN's programming, branding and creative vision.

    Winfrey will serve as Chairman of The Oprah Winfrey Network, LLC and the venture will be 50/50 owned by Discovery and Harpo. This is a cashless transaction and The Oprah Winfrey Network, LLC will be an independent company.

    Discovery Communications will contribute to the venture the Discovery Health Channel as well as handle distribution, origination and other operational requirements for the proposed venture. Both organizations will contribute advertising sales services to the venture.

    The search for OWN's Chief Executive Officer to oversee day-to-day venture operations will begin immediately.

    Oprah.com offers extensive expert advice, interactive workbooks, photos, video, inspirational stories, books and features to more than six million unique visitors with more than 80 million page views per month.

    Since its launch in 1999, Discovery Health has given viewers access to the world of medicine, health and wellness through voices of experience and stories of inspiration. Historically, the ratings and audience share for Discovery Health has been less than 20% of the total ratings of viewers watching the Discovery Channel or TLC.
    PAGE 1 of 2

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        Oprah Talks to Elizabeth Edwards
        She has buried a child, withstood an excruciatingly public blow to her marriage, and been diagnosed with terminal cancer. But in a warm, intimate, and startlingly honest discussion with Oprah, Elizabeth Edwards leaves no doubt that she is standing tall.
        Elizabeth Edwards and Oprah
        Photo: Rob Howard
        Here's a sneak peek. Read more in the June 2009 issue of O, on newsstands May 19th.

        Nestled amid majestic pine trees near Chapel Hill, North Carolina, sits Elizabeth Edwards's dream home: the 28,200-square-foot property she and her family moved into in 2006, four months before her husband, John Edwards, announced his run for president. Though the house is enormous, there's nothing ostentatious about it. "We're not fancy people," Elizabeth tells me as we settle in on a sofa in the living room. "All we need is a comfortable place to sit and have a conversation." Of course, little did she know as she was making plans for the house how painful some of the conversations taking place here would prove to be. — Oprah

        Oprah: You're doing well?
           
        Elizabeth: I'm doing pretty well. I mean, you watch the news; there are so many stories of incredible hardship that it's hard to sit in this house—even with the things I face—and think, "Boy, my life really stinks." It doesn't.
           
        Oprah: Your prognosis is...what?
           
        Elizabeth: You know, they don't really tell you.
           
        Oprah: Are you in pain?
           
        Elizabeth: I'm not. But you know, I'm 60 this summer. I get achy sometimes, with two little kids. So it's hard to tell whether that's something to do with cancer or not.

        Oprah: But you don't feel sick.
           
        Elizabeth: I don't. I just get worn out.
           
        Oprah: It was during this last presidential campaign that you were given the new diagnosis, that it was terminal. And the first thing you did was...
           
        Elizabeth: Cry. I admit it. We were sitting in a little room in the hospital, and it was hard not to break down. But then we said we're going to keep pushing. You can fight for yourself or you can just throw your hands up and say, "Okay, I'm through. I'll just wait to die."
           
        Oprah: At the time, I thought, how brave of you to take that on—to keep going with the longest campaign anybody's ever seen. And now that I've read Resilience, I see you already knew your husband had had an affair.
           
        Elizabeth: I knew there'd been a night. That's all I knew. And I'd been around politicians long enough to figure there were a lot of people for whom there'd been a night.

        Oprah:  How did you find out?
           
        Elizabeth: John told me.
           
        Oprah: After he had been discovered by the tabloids?
           
        Elizabeth: Most of it he told me before. He was gradually more forthright with me as he was more confident that he wasn't going to lose the life he cherished. Then after the tabloid stuff, a few more things came out. I think we went through a process over the summer of 2008.
           
        PAGE 1 of 2

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          Oprah Talks to Ellen DeGeneres
          The Exclusive O Interview
          She's known for her sharp wit and easygoing attitude (and, of course, the sneakers and funky dance moves). But behind the comedy is a woman who's had to muster her courage to get where she is today. Ellen DeGeneres tells Oprah about her balanced life, her loving wife, and how she intends to take her new job as an American Idol judge very seriously.
          Ellen DeGeneres and Oprah Winfrey
          Photo: George Burns
          Last January, when I first heard that Ellen DeGeneres wanted to be an O cover girl, I was sure it was a joke. She started with an announcement to the four million viewers of The Ellen DeGeneres Show: "Goodbye to the resolution to read," she quipped, "and hello to the resolution to be on the front cover of O in '09!" Then the crusade intensified. In March she launched an "O, Yes I Can!" campaign, and, in between unsuccessful attempts to reach me at the Harpo studios, she unveiled a series of mock O covers, including one on which she and I are riding a tandem bicycle through the countryside. The campaign was so funny, I actually hesitated to make the call that finally ended it. But last May, during Ellen's 1,000th show, I surprised her by Skyping into the broadcast and inviting her to share this month's cover with me.

          Of course, as far as covers go, this one is nothing compared with the one she did in April 1997, when she appeared on the front of Time magazine next to the headline "Yep, I'm Gay." In those days, Ellen—a Louisiana native who broke into stand-up comedy in the early '80s by performing at small clubs in New Orleans—was the star of her own sitcom, ABC's Ellen. As the show gained popularity and critical acclaim, Ellen, now 51, chose to reveal the secret she'd been carrying for years. What followed was a media circus leading up to the most-watched episode of her series: an estimated 42 million people tuned in to see Ellen's character also come out of the closet. But just as quickly, the crowds went away. The show's ratings started to crash, and a year later it was canceled.

          In September 2003, Ellen came back to television as host of The Ellen DeGeneres Show, now in its seventh season. When she's not delighting viewers with her quick wit and spontaneous dance moves, she's squeezing in one of her side gigs—like, say, hosting the Academy Awards (which she did in 2007) or taking a spot on the judges' panel on American Idol (which she'll do in 2010). Away from the limelight, Ellen shares her life with the actress Portia de Rossi. The two began dating in 2004, and four years later, in a private ceremony at their home, they married. Despite the passage of California's Proposition 8 (which made same-sex marriage illegal in the state), the couple's union is still valid because it occurred before the November 4, 2008, vote.

          When Ellen arrived at the photo shoot for our cover , I didn't have to ask her how she was doing: it showed on her face. She radiated the kind of peace and satisfaction that comes only when you're living at your highest potential.

          That's why, a few days after our photo session, I give Ellen a call—to talk about the balance she's obviously achieved in her life, and to get the story behind the glimmer in her eye. — Oprah

          Start reading Oprah's interview with Ellen


          PAGE 1 of 5

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            What Oprah Knows for Sure About Getting Older
            Photo: George Burns
            How do you feel about getting older? In the past six months, I've asked that question of almost every woman over 40 who's been a guest on my show. Barbra Streisand. Cheryl Tiegs. Bo Derek. Christie Brinkley.

            Ali MacGraw said, "The message women my age send to terrified 30- and 40-year-old women is that 'it's almost over.' What a gip." Beverly Johnson said, "Why am I trying to keep this teenage body when I'm not a teenager and everybody knows it? That was an epiphany for me."

            I ask the question so often for two reasons. One, I'm curious to know how being what the world considers externally beautiful affects your self-image when that beauty is no longer your calling card. I thought Cybill Shepherd's honesty on this point—"I had a great fear, as I grew older, that I would not be valued anymore"—offered terrific insight.

            And that's the second reason I like asking the question. We can learn from one another, and there's comfort in knowing that others have felt the same as we have.

            If you're blessed enough to grow older, which is how I look at aging (I think often of all the angels of 9/11 who won't), there's so much wisdom to be gained from people who are celebrating the process with vibrancy and vigor and grace.

            I've had wonderful mentors. Maya Angelou is 83 and still doing speaking tours. Quincy Jones, who recently celebrated 78, is always off in some far-flung part of the world creating new projects. Sidney Poitier at 84 epitomizes who and what I want to be if I'm fortunate to live as long. He's still reading everything he can get his hands on, continually expanding his fields of knowledge.

            For sure we live in a youth-obsessed culture that is constantly trying to tell us that if we're not young and glowing and "hot," we don't matter. The entire television ratings/advertising system is set up to serve the 18-to-54 demographic. Which says to anyone outside that group: We don't care about you. Yet this is a business predominantly run by executives all over 54.

            I refuse to let a system, a culture, a distorted view of reality tell me I don't matter. That only happens when we buy into the propaganda.

            People who lie about their age are denying the truth and contributing to a sickness pervading our society—the sickness of wanting to be what you're not.

            Denial leads to delusion.

            I know for sure that only by owning who and what you are can you step into the fullness of life.

            Every year should teach you something valuable; whether you get the lesson is up to you. Every year brings you closer to expressing your whole and healed self.

            I celebrate that. Honor it. Hold it in reverence. And I'm grateful for every age I'm blessed to become.

            Celebrate Your Age

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