The Oprah Show Producers Tell All
What It's Like to Work for OprahIt's the number one thing family, friends, and neighbors of Harpo employees want to know. Read on to find out what it's like on the job...
...when your boss's dogs are a part of the team: "We all love seeing Oprah's dogs around the office. On my very first day at Harpo, Oprah's dog Solomon—who was just a puppy at the time—came over and peed right next to my chair. Literally, right next to my chair. And I thought, Well, I hope that's a sign. This is probably something good, right?"—Tara Montgomery, Supervising Producer
...when things get stressful: "I did a makeover show with Nate Berkus when I was 7 and a half months pregnant. Oprah was shooting at someone's house while we were supposed to be setting up at Wal-Mart, but she got done sooner than expected. All of a sudden we see her black Suburban pass us on the highway, so there I was, with this huge belly in the passenger seat of Nate's tiny Porsche, going 85 miles an hour trying to beat Oprah to the Wal-Mart—and he and I burst out laughing. Under high-stress situations, our team tends to react with laughter rather than tears, because sometimes things get so crazy you just have to laugh."—Lisa Morin, Senior Supervising Producer
...in the make-up room: "Whenever we do two tapings in one day, the makeup colors I apply for the earlier show often have a brand new effect when Oprah switches outfits for the later one: The same lipstick can appear pink with a fuchsia sweater and take on a coral tint with a peach blouse, and the lighting can change the color, too. There have been instances when I didn't have enough time to adjust a lip color that I thought was unflattering, and it ended up working out for the best. When I saw her on stage I thought: That actually looks really good!" —Derrick Rutledge, Makeup Artist
Next: If viewers only knew...
If Viewers Only Knew That......Oprah wouldn't mind wearing the same outfit twice: "I'm always reminding her that you can't wear the same thing multiple times if you're on TV in front of millions of people every day. But she'll walk into the closet at Harpo and go, 'I can't believe we have all these clothes! Don't add another thing.' We have an ongoing battle about buying new clothes and accessories."—Kelly Hurliman, Stylist
See Kelly's picks for Oprah's best and worst fashion choices
...taping a show can be like a basketball game: "As many times as you've heard Oprah say, 'We'll be right back,' I've heard her say, 'Let's go, Dean, let's move it along.' She's like a basketball player, like Michael Jordan—let's get going down the court. We've got to get the energy out there." —Dean Anderson, Stage Manager
...someone does read viewers' mail: "I always go through all the show responses, e-mails and comments. I cannot wait until they come in because I want to see what people are saying. Whether we've introduced them to a great no-pucker blouse or a charitable organization that really deserved recognition, I want to know the response so we can keep doing better and better." —Leslie Grisanti, Producer
...the producers learn just as much as the viewers do. "At 19 years old, Jacqui Saburido was hit by a drunk driver, and she suffered severe burns on 60 percent of her body. She was left horribly disfigured after 40 surgeries. When we got her to come on as a guest in 2003, she said she only allows herself five minutes a day to feel sorry for herself. Now, if I'm ever going through a tough time, I think of Jacqui. When a story stays with me as much as that one did, I know it's affected a bunch of other people."—Lisa Morin, Senior Supervising Producer
...the biggest drama happens after the show: "After every show is a post-show meeting with the producer, supervising producer, Oprah, and Sheri, and those meetings can be the best of times and the worst of times. Oprah is very honest, and that constructive feedback can be hard to hear. But when there's a show where she's gushing and the champagne's coming out, there is no better feeling in the world. After meetings like that, I'd fly home from work—my feet wouldn't even touch the ground." —Jill Van Lokeren, Senior Supervising Producer
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