It's the hottest ticket in television and the most magical time of the year around Harpo Studios. "I can't even remember how the idea started to do 'Favorite Things,' but [it] has actually turned into one of my favorite things," Oprah says. "It's the fun of it. It's sharing that moment with 300 other people. It's acknowledging that surprise and fantastical, sensational, wonderful happy things can still occur in your life. That's what 'Favorite Things' is all about."

Now that the show only has one more chance to pull off the biggest surprise of the year, Oprah wants to take 'Favorite Things' to the next level. "It's like getting to experience Christmas morning through the eyes of everybody else who's going to to receive all these wonderful gifts," Oprah says. "I went into 'Favorite Things' this year knowing that I'm going to do it and do it as big and loud as we can."
Brian sets up the room

Producers Jenna and Caroline are assigned to the most top-secret show of the year. "I've been working at Harpo for 14 years and I'm a senior producer. I've grown up with 'Favorite Things,'" she says. "I was a PA working on 'Favorite Things' and I grew up along with the show and it got bigger and bigger and bigger." 

Three months before the show is set to tape, Jenna's co-producer Brian sets up a gift suite of sorts for Oprah to browse through. "Before we actually tape the show, we have several presentation meetings," Brian says. "Throughout the season Oprah gives us notes. Her people give us notes about what she likes, what she's eating, what she's sleeping on, what she's reading. And then we put them all out in this huge presentation. It's literally like we create a shopping mall."

Go inside the secret Favorite Things closet

This first presentation only focuses on products that companies are willing to customize for Season 25. "For obvious reasons, companies would kill to be on 'Favorite Things,'" Brian says. "When they are featured on the show, their sales skyrocket. Their websites shut down. So giving away 300 to 350 items to the audience is really no big deal in comparison to the business they get."
Oprah talks to her staff

When Oprah arrives, Brian starts jotting down her feedback. "My role during this 'Favorite Things' meeting is really to take notes, to pay attention to what Oprah's saying," he says. "A lot of what she'll say in this meeting we will actually put into the script that you'll see on the show."

Oprah sees a lot of items she loves, but there's one key product that's missing—Apple's iPad. "I would just say the iPad has revolutionized everything that I do.  It changed the way I operate," Oprah says. "The question is, number one, will they give it away? Number two, they're having trouble keeping them in the stores. You may not have enough."

Jenna and the team exchange glances. "We started hearing about Oprah's love of the iPad last year. Then we're in the presentation and she brings up the iPad again," Jenna says. "None of us want to say we don't know if we can get the iPad for 'Favorite Things.' But we're gonna keep trying."
Sheri and Oprah

Two months before taping, Harpo gets word that Apple said no to being a part of the "Favorite Things" episode. "Apple has been elusive. They don't need us to promote any of their gadgetry or their innovation or their technology. They like to control that themselves," executive producer Sheri says. "So Oprah's bummed."

Oprah says she started thinking of another way to get the iPad into her "Favorite Things" show. "When I heard that wasn't going to happen, I was sick about it," Oprah says. "I was thinking about buying 300, and the only reason I wouldn't buy the 300 is because I thought it would be unfair to all the other people who were donating their products for our 'Favorite Things' show."

The day of the final Favorite Things presentation meeting has arrived, and Oprah is about to make her final cuts. "This is the last presentation meeting, so I think we're going to really try and pack it with more items than ever before just to give a final big bang from our buck," Brian says. "Oprah's about to come down, and let's hope it goes well."

Before the meeting, however, Oprah's been busy hatching a surprise of her own. Oprah's longtime hairdresser, Andre, has developed a haircare line—and Oprah is going to make it one of her favorite things. "Andre has done my hair for the past 25 years. He has never asked for anything in 25 years and never tried to do any business other than just being there to do my hair," she says. "So when I heard that he was thinking about doing his product line, I wanted to help him."

Oprah heads down to the presentation and calls Andre down for what she says is a hair touch-up. As she discusses her final list of things with Jenna, she says there's one more she really wants to add. "I would like to do Andre Walker's shampoo," she says. "Congratulations, Andre. You made the cut."

Watch Andre's reaction. 

"I know it's such a big thing to be a part of and I know there were tons of people that wished they could have been a part of that," Andre says. "And the fact that she thought enough of me to put me in it, it was very heartwarming."
Oprah at the final presentation

Life-changing surprises aside, Oprah says she's stunned by the amount of work the team put into the final presentation. "Second only to the actual taping of the show is the presentation for Oprah," Jenna says. "It's like planning a wedding to bring all that stuff together, present it in a beautiful way then whittle it down to the very, very favorites, which isn't always easy."

In the end, Oprah has 36 items on her list. Only 20 can fit in a show. "I wasn't gonna be able to eliminate so many things and wanted to be able to get them all in and to give each of them their proper focus," Oprah says. "I think you need two days of 'Favorite Things.'"

At first, the team is elated. Then, reality sets in—two scripts need to be written, two sets need to be built and 600 deserving audience members need to be booked. "From joy joy joy it turned into panic," Jenna says. "Have we bitten off more than we can chew?"

"I have an idea of how much work is going to go into 'Favorite Things,' but I have such confidence and such belief in my team that I don't worry about it," Oprah says. "There's just nothing that I think that they cannot do. I believe in them."

As the team scurries to put all the details in place, executive vice president Harriet has worked a Christmas miracle for Oprah. Apple has agreed to be part of the show along with the Scrabble iPad application.

Watch the moment Oprah found out 

Oprah is brought to tears. "It was a deep reaction," she says. "The reaction was for everyone else now getting to have that experience. In case you don't know by now, I mean my greatest joy is having other people have joy. The reaction was for everyone else getting to have that experience."

"Three cheers to the never-give-up team!" Sheri says.

See what made Oprah's final Favorite Things list

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