Back in 1986, Oprah and her team were getting ready to tape their very first national show. The pressure was on—who would be the first guest? Oprah's staff called every '80s superstar, from Elizabeth Taylor to Sylvester Stallone, but no one was available. Eventually, Oprah and her producers set their sights on the star of one of the biggest shows on television—Miami Vice. Why not pull out all the stops and ask Don Johnson to be the first guest?
Oprah's team tried to lure Don to Chicago by sending him cases of Dom Pérignon champagne and a special pair of rhinestone sunglasses that were all the rage (remember—it was 1986), but he still turned down the offer. Without a big-name celebrity, Oprah decided to focus her first show on everyday men and women.
"And you know what?" Oprah says. "Doing a show about everyday people was the right call, and it's still what we do 25 years later."
Published on September 13, 2010