Oprah Winfrey

February 1, 2011

Very Important People

Oprah Winfrey

In 1976, Winfrey moved to Baltimore, where she hosted the TV chat show, People Are Talking. The show became a hit and Winfrey stayed with it for eight yers, after which she was recruited by a Chicago TV station to host her own morning show, A.M. Chicago. Her major competitor in the time slot was Phil Donahue.

Within several months, Winfrey’s open, warm-hearted personal style had won her 100,000 more viewers than Donahue and had taken her show from last place to first in the ratings. Her success led to nationwide fame and a role in Steven Spielberg’s 1985film, The Color Purple, for which she was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.

Winfrey launched the Oprah Winfrey Show in 1986 as a nationally syndicated program. With its placement on 120 channels and an audience of 10 million people, the show grossed $125 million by the end of its first year, of which Winfrey received $30 million. She soon gained ownership of the program from ABC, drawing it under the control of her new production company, Harpo Productions (‘Oprah’ spelled backwards) and making money from syndication.

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