Dana Newton Utigard
Senior Supervising Producer—started at Harpo in 1991.
When the news broke that Susan Smith had pushed her own children into a lake, my executive producer threw me on a plane with another producer so we could tape a show a day and a half later. We drove around town, trying to track down Susan's family members for an interview. Zero progress.
Since none of the family members would talk, we decided to host a town hall show. As emotional as that town meeting turned out to be—people were yelling, crying, and just going crazy—Oprah kept saying, "I just don't see how we're going to turn this into a solid show." But I cut in with a sentence I may never live down: "I feel it in the fiber of my being," I told Oprah. "Well," she said, "I guess I can't argue with the fiber of your being." When the show aired, the ratings skyrocketed. The next day Oprah celebrated with the entire staff and rolled out a big cake shaped like a crow, so she could "eat crow."
My declaration is still something I get teased about—11 years later: "I feel it in the fiber of my being."