Lisa at Dr. Berman shoot

As Jack and Bridgette are working with the legendary Liza Minnelli, senior supervising producer Lisa has been working for months on a show about two 30-year-old women who are still virgins. Lisa and her team feel they have the perfect guests and a solid show that the audience will want to see.

Before taping the show, Lisa's team had the women attend therapy sessions with sex expert Dr. Laura Berman. "We had them work with her for four to five weeks to try to figure out really what's underlying," Lisa says. "Why can't they let themselves go? Why can't they allow themselves to love? Why can't they allow themselves to be loved?"
Lindsey and Lisa

As part of Shayla's therapy, Dr. Berman assigns her to go on a date. After date number one lacked some serious chemistry, Dr. Berman and Lisa's team decide to send her on another date so she can learn how to flirt. 

Lisa, producer Eric and co-producer Jen skim the dating pool for candidates, and Shayla picks a man named Ryan. "She liked him," Lisa says. "And the last I heard is that she went to Ryan's apartment."

The next day, associate producer Lindsey finds out that Shalya stayed at Ryan's apartment until 2 a.m. and they kissed—passionately. "In one night, she was embracing her change," Lisa says. "I felt in that moment, 'You know what? No matter what happens with the show, with both of these girls, I know that we have affected their lives.'"
Pre-show meeting

The day before taping, Lisa and producer Eric meet with Sheri and Oprah. "Going into the pre-show for the virgins with Oprah, I felt good," Lisa says. "Then Oprah immediately threw a wrench at us."

Oprah couldn't remember having ever approved the topic. "What's wrong with being a 30-year-old virgin?" Oprah says. "It's OK if you're a 30-year-old virgin." 

Watch Oprah debate the producers 

When the meeting ends, the producers understand they don’t see eye-to-eye with Oprah, but the more important question is what this means for the show taping in 12 hours. "If Lisa and Eric have booked guests with depth and layers, it's going to be a home run," Sheri says. "If we don't do that, it's not going to be a pretty story."
Lisa and Shayla

By taping day Lisa has made some changes to her original script. "We wrote it into our show intro that Oprah didn't think being a 30-year-old virgin was in any way odd," she says. "Oprah was confused about it and really wanted to talk about it with the audience to get their opinion."

Lisa also preps their expert so she's aware of Oprah's viewpoint. "The virgins show needs to be at a serious, deep level, so I'm going to check in with Dr. Berman to set the tone with her," Lisa says.

Before taping, Lisa also stops in to say hi to Shayla, who is blushing and smiling when she hears what Ryan had to say about their date. "There was a transformation in this girl," Lisa says. "That felt good."
Oprah talks to the audience

Five minutes before taping, Oprah asks the audience their opinion. "I'm not just thinking about the viewers in the United States," Oprah says. "I’m thinking about the 30-year-old women in India who are still living at home with their parents who think it's quite normal to be 30 years-old and a virgin. I'm thinking about the women in Saudi Arabia. I'm thinking about the women in Afghanistan, in other places."

To her surprise, the audience sides with Lisa and Sheri—they also thinks it's unusual to be a virgin at 30 years-old. "The majority thought it was odd," Lisa says. "It is odd today."
Oprah in the control room

As the show tapes, Lisa pays close attention to Oprah's reaction. "I was waiting for that moment to see the vulnerability in Carmen and Shayla's likability," she says. "It naturally started to flow after that."

After the show, Oprah compliments the team on the depth of the show. "I liked the women who were on the show, and I understood that their stories were much deeper and fuller and richer than the salacious title," Oprah says. "So that show became more to me about women and their sexuality—how an unfortunate experience at an early age can really have an enormous influence on the way you think about yourself as a sexual being." 

The team is thrilled. "I think they feel validated," Sheri says. "They believed in these guests and they believed in their stories and they believed in this topic."

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