May 25, 2011

Oprah’s Last Show

As Tom Hanks said on an Oprah show earlier this season, the phrase “Did you see Oprah today?” is going to be removed from our vocabulary after today. Today marks the end of the 25 year run of The Oprah Show.

Let’s take a moment to relive some of our favorite moments. You get a car and you get a car. Tom Cruise jumping on the sofa. Johnnnnn Traaaaavollltaaaa. Oprah’s Book Club (who read A Million Little Pieces and loved it as much as I did?). Mattie and his poems. Oprah in Texas. Oprah and Tina. Dieting Oprah who made us all feel better about our struggles. The a-ha moments. Oprah’s hair through the years. The ugly cries, especially when Mary Tyler Moore surprised her.

In 25 years, it is not just the show that evolved but also her brand. The Oprah show initially was a little risqué and reminiscent of what became the Ricki Lake show. Slowly over the years, it evolved into a self-help, mentally stimulating, celebratory show. The Oprah brand launched the careers of personalities like Dr. Phil, Nate Berkus, Bob Greene and Dr. Oz. Her endorsement is the golden touch. Marketers strove for just one mention of their brand on the air to have sales explode.

Love her or hate her, you must recognize the impact she’s had on the world. Oprah is a big part of everyday culture (Did you see that on Oprah? Did you read that in her magazine? Did you watch OWN last night?). She used her brand to successfully launch both a magazine and a network at a time when many were struggling to stay afloat. She made topics once considered taboo easy to talk about with friends and family. She told great stories by asking provocative questions. She had the knack of presenting topics or guests in a way that helped people think about them a little differently.

As someone who has grown up watching Oprah, my life has been impacted in a few small ways. I didn’t sleep for a year after watching a show about ghosts when I was younger. I DVRed the Favorite Things episodes so that when I have a bad day I can see the crazy excitement in other people’s faces. I realized (at a young age) that my actions impact the world around me. I can choose for that impact to be positive or negative. And my favorite lesson, “No is a complete sentence.”

No one but Ms. Winfrey knows what her next move will be, but there are millions of people out there eagerly waiting for it. How do you think Brand Oprah will evolve?

Use the comments section to tell us your favorite memories from The Oprah Show.

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