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Oprah Winfrey: Inspirational Entertainer

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Oprah Winfrey: Inspirational Entertainer

When daytime talk show programs first appeared on television in the 1950s, they mostly consisted of celebrities gathered around a coffee table discussing secrets about trivial things, such as how to make the best sponge cake. It is unlikely that these shows promoted positive changes in the lives of their viewers in any substantial way. In the early 1970s, Phil Donahue introduced a new variety of talk show. His show was characterized as "an exercise in sociopolitical discourse," but was, in actuality, more successful for its coverage of titillating issues than important ones (Moorti sc 2-3).

Donahue's show impacted the talk show world, but not nearly as much as Oprah Winfrey would with the beginning of her show a few years later. In 1983, Oprah Winfrey applied for a position as a talk show host on a morning show in Chicago. Dennis Swanson interviewed her for the job, which she desperately wanted. She asked Swanson before he hired her if he had any concerns about her. He answered, "Not that I can think of." She responded, "Well, you know I'm black." And he replied, "Yeah, I figured that out." She said, "You know I'm overweight." And he answered, "So am I. I don't want you to change your appearance. If I did I would have hired someone else (Sellars sc 4)." Swanson convinced Oprah that she could make it in the television business by being who she was: overweight, black, and female (Sellars sc 4). In its first five months on the air, the "Oprah Winfrey" show became the third-highest syndicated show on TV (Moorti sc 3). Oprah continues to have astounding success today. She is among the highest paid and most influential entertainers in the business. Although...

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... Academic Search Elite. Palni Site Search. Goshen College Good Library. 3 Nov. 2002.

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Nelson, Maria Z. "Oprah on a Mission." Christian Century 25 Sept. 2002: scr 3-9. Academic Search Elite. Palni Site Search. Goshen College Good Library. 3 Nov. 2002.

"Oprah Winfrey.” Business Week. 14 Jan 2002: 56

Sellars, Patricia. "The Business of Being Oprah." Fortune Aug 2002: scr 2-5. Academic Search Elite. Palni Site Search. Goshen College Good Library. 3 Nov. 2002.

Stross, Randall E. "Oprah's Bare Nightstand." U.S. News and World Report 29 April 2002: 36. Academic Search Elite. Palni Site Search. Goshen College Good Library. 3 Nov. 2002.
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