Photo: George Burns/Harpo Studios
Before any audience members can even sit in their seats at Harpo Studios, they are taken care of by Harpo's Sally Lou Loveman and her team in the audience department. This team makes sure each audience member makes it to the show, knows where to go, knows what to wear, is excited for the taping and more—and they always seem to do it flawlessly. "They treat every audience member like gold," Oprah says.
Even though they make it look easy, Sally Lou says that it isn't always smooth sailing. One of the audience department's biggest challenges was a few months ago when a huge blizzard swept through Chicago. It was the only time in Oprah Show history when Harpo shut down—but Sally Lou and her team were still hard at work informing and rescheduling the audience members who were supposed to come to that week's tapings.
"The blizzard happened on a Wednesday," Sally Lou says. "[That Tuesday], we're preparing. We're talking to people who really can't get out of their flights and they have to come, or their flights were cancelled. ... We talked to about 1,800 people over a three-day period."
After making tons of phone calls, spending nights away from home and their families, and changing many travel plans, the audience department had everything worked out. "To date, all the [audience members] of that week have officially come to The Oprah Winfrey Show," Sally Lou says.