On May 25, 2011, "The Oprah Winfrey Show" aired its final broadcast, ending a 25-year run that won multiple awards over the years. Here are five things you probably didn’t know about “The Oprah Winfrey Show.”
Roger Ebert Convinced Oprah Winfrey to Sign a Syndication Deal Oprah Winfrey and Roger Ebert went on a couple of dates early in her career, and although their romance never blossomed, something great did come out of the pairing. On Oprah's 20th anniversary special she revealed—for the first time—that Roger Ebert was the person who convinced her to go into syndication…while they were on a date! Naturally, Roger took Oprah to a movie on their first date, and then he treated her to dinner at Hamburger Hamlet. According to Winfrey, Ebert jotted down on a napkin how much money she could make, to which she replied, "Done deal!"
Her Interview With Michael Jackson is The Most Watched Interview in Television History On February 10, 1993, Oprah sat down with Michael Jackson for what would be the most-watched interview in television history. The unprecedented live event drew a worldwide audience of 90 million people. Barbara Walters' interview with Monica Lewinsky came in second with 74 million viewers, while The Richard Nixon interview by David Frost came in a distant third with 45 million viewers.
She Was Sued By a Group Of Texas Cattlemen In 1996, Winfrey admitted that she did not eat hamburgers because of the dangers caused by an outbreak of mad cow disease. A group of cattlemen sued her for defamation, claiming that her comment cost them $11 million in profits. In 1998, the court sided with Winfrey, who declared that "Free speech not only lives, it rocks", and added that she still did not eat hamburgers
The Car Giveaway Came With a Hefty Price
Audience members and home viewers were astonished in 2004 when Winfrey gave all 276 members of her studio audience a brand-new Pontiac G6. The total cost of those cars? Just under $8 million. Those audience members weren’t as happy when they found out they had to pay taxes on it. Although Winfrey paid the registration and sales tax, gift tax still had to be paid to the IRS by the new owners. For members in the studio audience that day, the tax bill for that new car was as much as $6000.
The Show Was Really Successful “The Oprah Winfrey Show” show received 47 Daytime Emmy Awards before Winfrey decided to stop submitting the show for consideration in 2000. She reportedly wanted to make more room for others in the daytime arena to be nominated, and win. The show aired the final episode in May 2011 after running for almost 25 years. This gives it the distinction of being the longest-running of all the daytime talks shows.