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The conversation: Oprah's legacy

Oprah After 25 years, Oprah Winfrey's final episode airs Wednesday, marking the end of an era.

She became a force in television and pop culture

"Winfrey is not a great journalist, actress (despite the Oscar nod for her role in "The Color Purple"), literary critic or political strategist. Instead, she is an extraordinary self-creation -- as many powerful people are -- who helped forge a sea change in the way the culture looks at black women in particular and black people in general," writes the editorial board.

Oprah offered life lessons...

Robyn Okrant, originally an Oprah skeptic, became an unlikely follower while writing “Living Oprah: My One-Year Experiment to Walk the Walk of the Queen of Talk.” She’s prepared to graduate from Oprah’s “University of Life” precisely because of Oprah’s influence and lessons.

...and became a beacon of self-help

Others take a larger view, fitting Oprah in the endless stream of self-help America offers and always has provided.

Beyond her Book Club, Oprah has been good for the economy

But Oprah's influence extends even beyond the improvement of people, NPR reminds us. She's also credited with revitalizing the neighborhood where her show is filmed. Harpo Studios opened in 1990 and gradually Oprah bought adjacent and nearby properties. As her show became popular, it drew larger audience members and more revenue to the area.

Can anyone really replace Oprah?

Everyone’s handling the change differently. While television executives try to line up a replacement, her fans are searching too. Jessica Grose at Slate sees Jay-Z and Gwyneth Paltrow as potential gap-fillers, but recognizes that neither has the perfect combination of transparency and hard-won success Oprah personifies.

RELATED:

Photos: 25 great 'Oprah' moments

Oprah Winfrey's TV pals look back

Oprah's Book Club: She spoke, we read

After Oprah leaves, daytime TV may never be the same again

Critic's Notebook: Oprah's revolution will continue to be televised

-- Julia Gabrick

Photo: Oprah Winfrey at the taping of "Oprah's Surprise Spectacular" in Chicago May 17. Credit: John Gress / Reuters

 

Comments () | Archives (4)

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blackone

My favorite moment was when Jamie Fox presented her with a portrait by Artis Lane, treating Oprah gently and beautifully like the queen that she usually is.
My least favorite moment was when an African-American woman from Pasadena came on. Her teenager was HORRIBLY disfigured by acid which was thrown into her face by a Black janitor at her apartment complex. Oprah had no sympathy whatsoever. She was rude and extraordinarily, unbelievably callous (after crying and wailing whenever a white woman would talk about being bored or not being challenged or whatever). "You're mad at everyone, aren't you?" (When the woman said she couldn't even get a call back from the NAACP or any other so-called Black organization. This let me know that Oprah doesn't like her people. You can't fake it. She just doesn't seem to. Considering her history, no one could really blame her for that if it is true.

DoneWithTheMan

Oprah used to be a good interviewer then started to believe her own press and became a self righteous know it all. The show became all about the religion of Oprah and "being your authentic self" crud. She has become irrelevant and a repetitive bore. Her new network idea is bunk too.
Take comfort worshipers, she still has Gayle and billions of dollars.
Don't let the door hit on you on your big wide fanny on the way out Oprah.

Robert

Good riddance to a smug, self-congratulatory fraud.

Robert

She should buy the Crystal Cathedral and make it the new headquarters for the Church of Oprah.


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