15 of The Oprah Show's Greatest Giveaways
From houses and cars to a few of Oprah's Favorite Things, look back on The Oprah Show's greatest giveaways.
Oprah loves surprises, and in 1994, she had a big one for her entire audience—a trip to Philadelphia! With just a day's notice, she whisked 131 audience members to the City of Brotherly Love to climb the famous "Rocky" steps, visit the Liberty Bell and eat as many Philly cheesesteaks as possible.
The Wonderful World of Disney
In 1996, Oprah celebrated the 10th anniversary of of her show by surprising the entire audience (who were all celebrating anniversaries of their own) with a trip to Disney World. Later, when the 217 audience members arrived at the Orlando airport, they were greeted by Oprah and her friends Mickey and Minnie.
Simply the Best
When The Oprah Show went on tour with Tina Turner in 1997, Oprah decided to bring along a few deserving women. Close to 76,000 viewers wrote in to explain why they or someone they knew deserved to go on tour with the rock 'n' roll legend, but just six were chosen. When the lucky ladies caught up with Oprah and Tina in Houston, they were given the VIP treatment—complete with luxury cars, a private shopping spree, and of course, front-row seats for the show.
Fit for a Princess
In February 2003, Oprah donned a crown and scepter to bestow a very important honor—Princess for a Day. A special woman named Fannie
, a hardworking nanny and housekeeper, had taken in her nephew and two nieces after the death of her sister, and was raising them alongside her own children. In an effort to give Fannie the royal break she deserved, Oprah treated her to maid service for a year, an all-expenses-paid trip to New York City and a new set of wheels.
Everyone Gets a Car!
"You get a car! You get a car! Everybody gets a car!" Oprah made TV history—and coined a new catchphrase—when she gave a brand new car to every member of her audience during the 19th season premiere of The Oprah Show
. Watch what happened!
In 2004, Oprah took on a top secret mission: to throw the world's biggest baby shower
at an army base in Kentucky. Supermodel Cindy Crawford joined Oprah to shower 640 pregnant women with gifts that included strollers, baby Uggs and digital cameras.
When Brian Fawcett came to The Oprah Show with his fiancée Alison in 2004, he had no idea that he had been chosen as one of the most romantic men in America. After hearing his heartfelt story about how he had supported and cared for Alison during her battle with breast cancer, Oprah announced that the Charles Schwab investment company would be paying off his student loan debt—all $35,000 of it! On top of that, the company was giving Brian an additional $10,000 and a portfolio consultation, so that he'd never have to be in debt again.
Oprah's Katrina Homes
After Hurricanes Katrina and Rita hit the South in 2005, Oprah promised displaced families a new community
and committed $10 million of her own money to make that happen. Since that day, close to 300 families who were affected by the hurricanes have received new homes, thanks to Oprah's Angel Network and Habitat for Humanity.
Oprah's Favorite Giveaway Ever
Oprah announced her all-time favorite giveaway during a 2006 show on giving back. At the end of that show, each member of the audience was sent home with $1,000, a hand-held camera and a challenge. Oprah asked each of them to "pay it forward" by using that $1,000 to come up with inspiring and creative ways to help others, and to videotape their progress. See the results!
College Scholarships for 50 Young Scholars
As soon as Oprah's first-ever National High School Essay Contest
was announced in January 2006, the entries began pouring in. Fifty thousand students responded to the question, "Why is Elie Wiesel's book Night
relevant today?" A panel of esteemed judges—made up of teachers, librarians and Harpo staffers—chose the final 50 winners. Oprah told viewers that she wanted everyone to meet these gifted students and, along with AT&T, gifted each of them with a $10,000 college scholarship.
A Big Give
While competing on the reality show Oprah's Big Give
, contestant (and eventual winner) Stephen Paletta
was inspired by a man named Atlantis, whom he met when he volunteered at the Atlanta Union Mission. Stephen said he was blown away by how much Atlantis gave and gave and never asked for anything in return...so he wanted to surprise him with something big. While appearing together on The Oprah Show
, Stephen presented Atlantis with a brand new car!
Saturday Night Live Surprise
When Oprah learned about Jackie—an inspirational 19-year-old
who was forced to leave college after being diagnosed with a rare form of cancer—she wanted to do something to help. Saturday Night Live
had always made Jackie laugh, so Oprah asked cast members Andy Samberg, Kristen Wiig and Jason Sudeikis to give Jackie a big surprise: a trip to New York City and a VIP backstage tour of Saturday Night Live
If you could ask Oprah anything, what would it be? Two die-hard Mariah Carey fans asked if their idol would be on the show anytime soon, and they got news that sent them into hysterics: Oprah promised to fly them out to New York to watch her perform live! Once they got to New York, the superfans not only got to meet Mariah, but they were also personally asked by her to be in her new music video. Watch their hilarious reaction!
The Trip of a Lifetime
Oprah's 25th and final season began with one of the biggest surprises in Oprah Show
history: Everyone was going to Australia! The audience, which was filled with Ultimate Viewers, jetted off a couple months later on an eight-day, once-in-a-lifetime adventure to the land Down Under
. Watch what happened when Oprah delivered the big news!
Oprah's Favorite Things
The screaming, the crying, the surprising and, of course, all those Favorite Things! Oprah's Favorite Things
has become a cultural phenomenon since the first show aired in 1997. Over the years, lucky audience members have gone home with everything from candles to refrigerators. The last-ever Favorite Things shows aired in 2010, when not one but two
audiences (all filled with specially picked heroes) got to experience the phenomenon for themselves.