Beijing Olympics

Photo: George Burns

Most guests at one time.........176 (for the "Welcome Home Team USA's Olympic Stars" episode, September 2008)

"The Olympic medalist episode was one of the most challenging for us to put together. My team booked all 176 athletes in less than a week. Each of us was in charge of a different group—'You're women's volleyball!' 'You're BMXers!' When Oprah came out and the confetti started falling, I cried like a baby. It was such a huge feat." —Cindy Mori, booking and talent relations director

Number of countries in which the Oprah show is broadcast................145

Hour at which it's most commonly broadcast in the U.S........4 P.M.

Because the show aired just after school, it found a special following among teachers—and sneaky students. A few of their stories:
"I started watching in 1995 when I was a new first-grade teacher. I loved my job, but was overwhelmed and filled with doubts. Every afternoon I'd tune in from my classroom while I prepped for the next day. And when the show ended at 5 o'clock, I gave myself permission to go home." —Jennifer Liebi-Zelazny, 39, Los Angeles

"I was 10 when I saw my first episode with my two older sisters,and from that day on, 4 P.M. meant sisterhood: We were bonded in secrecy because we were watching instead of doing homework." —Julia Kim, 35, Washington, D.C.

"Both my parents were teachers, so we spent most of our afternoons together. One day my dad told us he'd heard about a great new show called Ophra. We watched in our kitchen and were hooked from the start. My dad died in 1992, and called her "Ophra" till the end. —Gwynne Lynch, 42, Swarthmore, Pennsylvania

Number of audience members per show...............between 315 and 365
"The trick was getting the right audience for a given topic. Back in the day, we'd put voice-overs at the end of soap operas: 'If you're cheating on your husband, call this number.' Then we'd spend all afternoon answering the phones: 'Oprahpleasehold. Oprahpleasehold. Oprahpleasehold...'" —Sally Lou Loveman, senior audience producer
Approximate total of audience members over 25 seasons........1.3 million

Letters received via U.S. mail over 25 seasons.........................20 million+

Episode that got the most happy mail: the 2004 season premiere, when 276 audience members received brand-new Pontiac G6s

Episode that got the most angry mail: the 2006 show on which James Frey admitted to fudging parts of his memoir, A Million Little Pieces—an Oprah Book Club selection. (Some blamed Oprah for not vetting the book; others, for being too hard on Frey.)

Approximate number of guests since 1986..........28,000

Number of guests who were U.S. presidents........................5 (not to mention 5 First Ladies, 7 princes, 6 princesses, 1 reigning queen, 1 former queen, 1 earl, 1 lord, 1 count, and 1 duchess)

Appearances by Celine Dion, the most frequent female guest (not counting Gayle King, 139)..............................27

Appearances by Chris Rock, the most frequent male guest (not counting Dr. Phil, 118; Dr. Oz, 62; and Nate Berkus, 51)........................25

And in case you were wondering: Appearances by Suze Orman......26

Number of selections chosen for Oprah's Book Club................65

Number of schools, in 12 countries, built by Oprah's Angel Network......55

Number of Favorite Things chosen since 1996........................283

We Take the Cake's total profits in 2004, just before their key lime Bundt cake was chosen...........$19

We Take the Cake's total sales by the end of 2005.....................$840,000
"You Get a Car!"

Photo: George Burns

Total number of cars given away over 25 seasons............570

Number of EMTs standing by during the 2004 Pontiac giveaway.....2

Number of times Oprah shouted, "You get a car!" that day............12

The "You get a car!" transcript, in full:

"Cue the drumroll. All right. Open your boxes. Open your boxes. One! Two! Three! You get a car! You get a car! You get a car! You get a car! You get a car! You get a car! You get a car! You get a car!


Everybody gets a car! Everybody gets a car! Everybody gets a car! Everybody gets a G6! Everybody gets a car! Everybody gets a car! Oh, my goodness! Everybody gets a car! You get a car! You get a car! You get a car! You get a car! Everybody gets a car!


Is that the wildest? Is that the wildest? Okay. Okay. Okay. And guess what? Hold on, hold on, hold on, hold on. Hold on. Everybody, your cars are waiting right outside!


Whoa! Oh, my God. Oh, my God. Whoa! Whoa! Oh, my God. Oh, my God. There they are." —Oprah


Photo: George Burns

In 1996, Oprah gave her entire studio audience—and their families—a trip to Disney World.

Other locations from which the show has been broadcast:

Walt Disney World

A historical-reenactment colony in Maine where it's always 1628

The sets of Baywatch, American Idol, Friends, Desperate Housewives, and Grey's Anatomy

Radio City Music Hall

The Nashville Farmers' Market

A polygamists' ranch in Texas

An army post in Kentucky

A Louisiana plantation

A bridge in Madison County, Iowa

(All told, the show has been filmed in 28 states and the District of Columbia, as well as in South Africa, France, Ethiopia, Poland, Denmark, Scotland, England—and, of course, Australia.)

Number of sets from The Mary Tyler Moore Shoe recreated for Ms. Moore's guest appearance in 2008 .........2

Horton Hears a Who Oprah Set

Photo: George Burns

Other custom sets created for the show:

Horton Hears a Who!—to welcome the cast of the 2008 movie

A lingerie boutique, for the "Oprah's Bra and Jean Intervention" episode, 2005

Santa's workshop, for the "Ultimate Favorite Things" episode, 2010

A set made entirely of Godiva chocolate for the "That's Incredible!" episode, 2010
Oprah in a Sari

Photo: George Burns

Number of times Oprah has appeared on the show in a sari.........1

Number of times Oprah has appeared on the show in a bathrobe......1

Number of ears pierced on camera (two of them belong to Oprah)......6

Episodes broadcast from New York City.........10

Episodes broadcast from Los Angeles............26

Episodes broadcast from Amarillo, Texas (during Oprah's beef trial)......29
Oprah and Paula Deen

Photo: George Burns

Paula Deen's Sour Cream Pound Cake
Deen's demonstration of this recipe led to one of the show's most memorable bloopers. As she and Oprah creamed two sticks of butter and three cups of sugar (said Deen: "I'm your cook, not your doctor"), a glass ramekin accidentally fell into the stand mixer, sending shards flying onstage. (Seconds of airtime during which the unharmed audience laughed about the mishap: 68)

Calories in one serving of the sour cream pound cake Paula Deen made on the show in 2007.......619

Number of days Oprah maintained a vegan diet after conscious-eating advocate Kathy Freston appeared on the show in 2008........21

Number of Harpo staffers who attempted to go vegan for one week after Freston returned in 2011........all 378

Number of times the word poop or pooping was spoken on the May 3, 2005, episode about digestive health, featuring Dr. Oz...........15
Prisoner with Dog

Approximate number of tissues provided to weepy guests over the years....250,000

Number of times Oprah has cried on-camera......................79

Percent chance that Oprah will cry during the final episode on May 25....100

Other things that made Oprah break down:

1994: Her surprise 40th birthday party

1996: A show titled "Nobody Knows I'm Homeless"

2002: Hearing Toni Morrison read from Sula

2005: Visiting mayor Ray Nagin in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina

2007: Sitting down with children of divorce

2009: Talking with prison inmates about how pet dogs have changed their lives

2010: Listening to Dolly Parton sing "I Will Always Love You"—after Dolly dedicated the song to Oprah. Aw!
Sheri Salata

Photo: George Burns

After joining Oprah in her vegan experiment, Harpo president and The Oprah Winfrey Show executive producer Sheri Salata blogged, "I now know for sure that water with a little lemon is quite nice." Three more things Sheri knows for sure:

1. Never forget what it's like to be at the bottom.

I started at Harpo as a very junior producer. A few months in, Oprah saw something I'd written for a commercial and said, "Who wrote this? It's really good." She thanked me for my work—and said she liked my shoes. I lived on that moment for two years! I remember thinking, I want to be able to do that for someone someday.

2. The best cure for exhaustion is laughter.

At the end of a long day of taping two shows, Oprah and I usually had no brainpower left. And that's when Oprah would start doing impressions of our fellow staff members, or her spot-on version of Chris Rock. It cracked us up and got us ready to do it all again the following morning.

3. All will be well.

That's my mantra—and it's so freeing when you're facing a crisis. When I began this job, every failed booking or on-air slipup felt like a disaster. But after a while I noticed that Oprah wasn't bothered in the least. She's always open to the next good thing that's on its way.

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