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Oprah says she was stunned when her brand new show got higher ratings than the seasoned Donahue. "Nobody expected me to beat Phil Donahue, nor did I," she says. "So when that happened it was like, 'Whoa. What is that?' That was a huge victory for me, an overweight black woman with a Jheri curl. I didn't think he could be beaten so I wasn't trying to."
Now, in her 25th season, Oprah is looking forward to a sit-down with Phil Donahue, who has never appeared on Oprah's show. "Donahue is sort of the king for me because he opened the door and made this all possible," Oprah says. "Over the years I have never forgotten that had there not been him, there couldn't be me."