Who was her favorite guest? Who was a handful? Do guests ever lie, make her nervous, become her friends? Lisa Kogan turns the interviewing tables on Oprah.
Q: Were you nervous before that first syndicated show?

A: No, not really. I had been up most of the night reflecting about the long journey to that moment. I wrote in my journal, "I wonder if my life will change.... I thank God for the opportunity." I was very much aware of the magnitude of the moment. 

 Do you ever get nervous now?

A: Like most people, I get nervous only when I'm out of my element or I'm uncertain about the outcome of a situation. Speaking in front of people is like breathing to me. I've been nervous three times that I can recall on my show—for Sidney PoitierDiana Ross and Nelson Mandela, because they meant so much to me personally. 

 How much homework do you do before each show?

A: If a guest is promoting a movie, I've seen the movie. If they're promoting a book, I most likely have read the book or enough of it to have a discussion. In some cases, I've been more familiar with a book than the person promoting it—that's very annoying. 

Q: Have you ever lost your temper on the air?

I've lost my temper a couple of times in discussions about the abuse of children. I don't regret what I said but the way I said it. It's never good to lose control on the air. 

Q: What did you and Tom Cruise talk about during the commercial breaks? Did he offer to have your sofa cleaned?

I try not to have any conversation during break. I learned the first year out that you want to save it for the air. But on that particular show, Tom was so jazzed, chatting it up with the audience and me during commercial breaks. He'd just been to the Legends event [the party Oprah threw in May 2005], so we talked about that. No, he did not offer to clean the sofa, and aren't I glad. Now we can auction it for the Angel Network and make a lot of money.


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