Gayle King, Mark Consuelos, Oprah and Ali Wentworth discuss the Hudson River plane crash.

Plane crash photo: Steven Day/AP

On January 15, 2009—the same day Gayle King and Mark Consuelos were scheduled to fly out of New York City's LaGuardia Airport to tape The Oprah Show—an outbound flight headed to Charlotte, North Carolina, crash landed in the Hudson River.

US Airways Flight 1549 took off from LaGuardia at 3:24 p.m., but minutes later, passengers found themselves knee-deep in frigid water. According to news reports, birds flew into the plane's two engines, causing an explosion. The pilots were forced to make an emergency water landing.

"Applause to the pilots and the crew," Oprah says.

Thankfully, Chesley B. "Sully" Sullenberger III, the flight's captain, is a former Air Force fighter pilot. "Not only did he land the plane intact...he told Mayor Bloomberg that when everybody was out, he walked up and down the [plane] two times to make sure everybody was out," Gayle says.

"That's a hero," Oprah says. "We're so happy that everyone got out safely."
Oprah, Mark and Gayle

Another story making headlines around the world is the upcoming inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama. On January 20, 2009, he will be sworn in as the 44th president of the United States in Washington, D.C. In honor of this historic event, Oprah's taking her show on the road to the nation's capital!

On Monday, January 19, and Wednesday, January 21, she's broadcasting live from the center of the action with some of Hollywood's biggest stars and surprise guests.

Find out more and get up-to-the-minute updates!

Oprah isn't the only one planning a trip to D.C. Officials are estimating that more than 1.5 million people are traveling there to celebrate the inauguration. "I've heard that there aren't going to be enough porta-potties," Gayle says.

"It's going to be too cold to pee," Mark says.

Ali Wentworth, a D.C. resident, says that for the past four years, no one has wanted to visit. Now, she says she's getting calls from people she barely knows who are asking for a couch to crash on. "I have a packed house," she says. "The kids are going nuts. There are so many parties. It's almost like a small town, and all of a sudden, Hollywood said, 'We're going to have the Oscars® there.'"

Oprah says she considered hosting her own inaugural bash but then decided against it because of the packed party schedule. "I kept moving my stuff to get out of the way of other people's stuff," she says. "I said to my office, 'Please fax me what's going on [in D.C.]' There were 32 pages of things going on!"

"The women in Washington are going crazy because they're all having parties," Ali says. "They're all competing!"
The Obama family on Parade magazine

Photo: Kwaku Alston/Corbis for Parade magazine

To get inspired before the inauguration, Oprah suggests picking up the January 18, 2009, issue of Parade magazine, which features a letter President-elect Obama wrote to his young daughters, Malia and Sasha. "It's so poignant and so moving," Oprah says.

The letter, which is called "What I Want for You—and Every Child in America," gives readers a glimpse into the private life of our future leader.

He writes: "When I was a young man, I thought life was all about me—about how I'd make my way in the world, become successful and get the things I want. But then the two of you came into my world with all your curiosity and mischief and those smiles that never fail to fill my heart and light up my day. And suddenly, all my big plans for myself didn't seem so important anymore. I soon found that the greatest joy in my life was the joy I saw in yours. ... I love you more than you can ever know. And I am grateful every day for your patience, poise, grace and humor as we prepare to start our new life together in the White House. Love, Dad."

When Ali's husband, ABC News correspondent George Stephanopoulos, interviewed President-elect Obama, she says he brought Sasha and Malia along. "George said the relationship between them was so amazing," Ali says.

"It's a reflection on how they were raised," Gayle says. "They are so well behaved. They are not obnoxious. You can just tell they're normal little girls."
Actor, comedian and author Denis Leary

With his profanity-laden "guy's guy" humor and outrageously raw book Why We Suck: A Feel Good Guide to Staying Fat, Loud, Lazy and Stupid, actor and comedian Denis Leary may not seem like your typical Oprah fan...but he is one!

While writing his book, Denis—who also stars in the FX network series Rescue Me—says he wanted to include a chapter making fun of Oprah from a guy's point of view. "Truthfully, my mom loves you," Denis says. "My sisters, my mom, all my Irish aunts—they literally talk about you like you're at the house. They go, 'Well, Oprah said...' 'Well, Oprah thinks we should be doing this.' What, does Oprah call you? Me and my brother got sick of hearing it."

Listen to Denis read an excerpt from Why We Suck. Listen

When Denis started researching Oprah, he says he turned to the Internet. "I Googled, and I got I'm a 50-year-old man, and I act like a 15-year-old boy on the Internet," he says. "I [searched] the word 'penis,' and there was an episode where Dr. Oz talked about how you can break your penis! ... What upset me is that I watch SportsCenter all the time, and no one mentioned a broken penis to me in my entire life!"

After a few more searches for things like prostate cancer and rip-claw hammers, Denis' mind had been made up. He changed the chapter that was going to make fun of Oprah to one that praises her instead. "If you had a crawl across the bottom of your TV screen that had the scores," Denis says, "every man in America would stop watching SportsCenter."
Denis Leary talks about his wife, Ann.

Denis says before he began writing Why We Suck, his wife, Ann, told him he'd never get away with making fun of Oprah. "I said, 'Oh, I am! You watch me!' And then, sure enough, when I got in there ... she said, 'What did I tell you?'" Denis says. "I watched so many episodes of the show, and I got so sucked in. I wasn't even writing the chapter. I was just watching episodes of the show and learning things."

Denis has been with Ann—whom he calls "a real writer"—for nearly 27 years, and they've been married for 19. "This is what happened. We started dating on a Monday, and on Wednesday, I just moved into her apartment," he says. "I was like, 'I'm here.'"

Denis says he truly feels lucky to be with her. "I wake up every day and go, 'She's still here?'"

In the Leary household, Denis says he does the cleaning. "Vacuuming is great. I do the laundry. I love washing machines," he says. "I'm the maid in my house. I think that's why she stayed with me. ... My favorite thing in the world is to do laundry. I wash and I fold in front of a game."
Denis Leary discusses his feelings about President-elect Barack Obama's upcoming inauguration.

Just like the rest of the panel, Denis says he's excited about President-elect Obama's inauguration next week. Denis says his parents—both immigrants from Ireland who moved to America in the '50s—believed in the opportunity to achieve the American dream. "And, in their case, they did. And they believed in the civil rights movement. I grew up with that," he says. "I don't think I ever really thought, as a white Irish guy, that we would ever get to this point."

Denis says 2008 was also the first election his 19-year-old son was eligible to vote in. "It was really exciting to watch young kids respond to this," he says.

One of the reasons Denis says he came up with the title for Why We Suck is the politics of the past eight years. "When people say, '[Obama is] an elitist.' Or, 'I want a president who's like me.' I don't want a president like me! I suck, okay," he says. "I want an elitist, smart guy."
An illustration by Patrick Campbell from the book Why We Suck by Denis Leary

Illustration: Patrick Campbell

Throughout Why We Suck, Denis highlights the differences between men and women. In one graphic (see above), he diagrams the male brain and the female brain. "We had to change some of the words of the graphic," Oprah jokes. "'Breasts' instead of you know what—the other word."

"And 'oral sex' instead of you know what," Gayle jokes.

"What I was trying to accomplish here is the complicated level of the female brain versus the simplicity of the male brain," Denis says. "But let me point out—this guy? This is actually a complicated guy. Because most guys it would just be sex and sandwiches."
Herman and Roma Rosenblat

Oprah once called it the greatest love story ever told. Years ago, she met Herman and Roma Rosenblat, a couple who shared the incredible story of how they claimed to have met during World War II.

During their first appearance on The Oprah Show, Herman said he was 12 years old when he and his family were taken from their home in Poland and sent to a concentration camp in Nazi Germany. Two years later, Herman said a girl began passing him apples through the barbed-wire fence. These apples, he said, helped him survive the war.

Herman said he was living in New York City 15 years later when he was set up on a blind date with a woman named Roma Radzika. After exchanging stories about their lives, Herman said he realized she was the girl who'd given him apples so many years before. He told Oprah he proposed to her that same day.

This remarkable love story captivated the country, but on December 27, 2008, Herman admitted to fictionalizing portions of his life story, which included how he met his wife.
Gayle, Mark and Denis

Herman's lawyers have advised him to not speak publicly at this time, but he released a statement through his agent.

The statement reads: "To all who supported and believed me and this story, I'm sorry for all I caused you and everybody else in the world."

Mark says Herman first shared this story with the New York Post in hopes of winning a dinner for two and tickets to a Broadway show. When he won and the story spread, Herman and his wife began making television appearances and landed a book deal. "That's what happens with lies—it just gets bigger and bigger," Oprah says.

"You have to be very careful in certain parts of history and certainly the Holocaust," Ali says. "It's so important historically to keep all the stories that have come out pure and accurate."
Earl Stafford

If you're not a political heavyweight, Hollywood star or big contributor, chances are you won't be attending many balls during the inauguration. But thanks to one man, thousands of everyday people will get the chance to dance the night away this year as part of The People's Inaugural Ball.

"Philanthropist Earl Stafford is using $1.6 million of his own money to throw an inaugural ball for people who might never have the chance to be a part of the presidential celebration," Oprah says.

Earl says he was inspired in March 2008 to help people who are underserved and underprivileged. "We formed a coalition with other organizations and asked them to identify individuals who fit into the homeless or disadvantaged category and to bring them in," Earl says. "We wanted a cross section of ages. We have Tuskegee airmen. We have Mama Tucker coming, who is 106 years old. And we have young children that are coming."

Thanks to help from organizations like the National Urban League and the Boys & Girls Clubs, transportation for all the invitees will be covered. "We've teamed up with 35 different organizations," Earl says.

Earl says his wife and daughter wanted to make the event an elegant affair, so they asked people to donate tuxedos and gowns. "We've received over 525 gowns," he says. "We set up a boutique at the hotel that these individuals will go into. They'll select the gowns. ... We are going to have people with means entertaining and partying with people who don't have means."
Oprah and Ali

Oprah says her recent conversation about hormone replacement therapy is controversial and can be confusing. "We're going to keep talking about it in upcoming shows," she says.

Even Gayle isn't sure what to do to counteract the side effects of menopause. "I even got the name of a doctor," Gayle says. "But I still can't pick up the phone and call."

Debbie from Missouri wrote to Oprah after learning more about hormones on The Oprah Show.

In the e-mail, she says, "I watched and cried and cried. ... I am 51 and have been going through all that: hot flashes, sleepless nights, fatigue, feeling vulnerable, sad and in general not feeling well every day of my life for the last six years and more. Finally, I feel like I am not crazy or losing my mind."

"You have to do your research and know what you are asking for," Oprah says.

Find out more about hormone replacement therapy