Moooovvvving Day! Oprah has officially handed over the keys to Harpo to Rosie O’Donnell. The OWN CEO and Rosie posed outside Chicago’s Harpo Studios, where a sign now reads, “The Rosie Show” and under it, “Former Home of the Oprah Winfrey Show.” Guess this makes it official! Oprah Tweeted, “A new day at Harpo.” Rosie premieres on OWN on Oct. 10 at 7 p.m. ET/PT. (Then two hours later, you can flip over to Lifetime and watch Oprah fave Jennifer Aniston executive produce and direct Five, an anthology of breast cancer stories. I just interviewed Aniston and her co-directors — which include Demi Moore and Alicia Keys — tonight in New York City at the red carpet premiere. I’ll link to it when it goes live on my work website.)
Oprah cut her vacation short to talk about about OWN at the National Cable & Telecommunications Association’s annual cable show in Chicago today.
She had planned to spend a few months floating on a friend’s boat before Discovery president and CEO David Zaslov recalled her back. Now she’s instead talking up her network and completing her move to Los Angeles from the Windy City.
“One of the things David said to me was. ‘We need you to be all in. It’s all in or nothing. And if you choose not to be all in we will both go our separate ways and wish you well,’” recalled Winfrey. “And I had to think about that.”
“The truth of the matter is,” she went on, “I was all in with one foot out the door while finishing the final season [of The Oprah Winfrey Show].”
“This is the moment I’ve been waiting for for the past two years,” she said of her network. “I need to be there. I need to be engaged and involved.”
“I have committed everything I have to this cable [venture],” she said. “And I wouldn’t bet against me. I just wouldn’t.”
She said her dream interviews on Oprah’s Next Chapter, which premieres in January, are a confession from O.J. Simpson — “I have a dream of O.J. Simpson confessing to me. And I am going to make that happen people” — and interview with Susan Smith, who murdered her two sons.
Most of her staff will continue to work at Harpo, she said (minus Lisa Morin, who is now the executive producer of Anderson Cooper’s daytime talk show, Anderson), focusing on Rosie O’Donnell’s show and repackaging her 25-year library of The Oprah Winfrey Show. Both will begin airing on OWN this fall.
Where’s Oprah taking her vacation before diving headfirst into her OWN network? In London, revealed her BFF Gayle King, to People.com.
“She’s just relaxing,” King said at the fifth anniversary of The Beatles LOVE by Cirque du Soleil, in Las Vegas. “She’s on vacation right now. She’s taking a much-deserved, well-deserved break.”
King wouldn’t mind taking some time off herself. “I’m working on my own show,” said King, who recently interviewed Lady Gaga on her SiriusXM and OWN show, “but I’d like a vacation.”
Senior supervising producer Lisa Morin — who oversaw the show on Oprah and Gayle’s camping trip, and is a fixture on 25 Years: Oprah Behind the Scenes on OWN — had landed a new job. She’ll be the executive producer of Anderson Cooper‘s new daytime show, Anderson, which debuts this September. This likely means a move for her family (she’s a mother of three, according to Oprah.com) from Chicago to New York.
“The work I’ve done with Harpo over the past 15 years has prepared me for this next phase of my career,” said Morin in a statement. “I couldn’t be more excited to work with Anderson and I think there are sides to him that most people will be surprised to see. Not only is he a professional – he is sharp, charming and very funny. Anderson is going to bring a breath of fresh air to daytime.”
Cooper — who will tape from NYC’s Time Warner Center, where he broadcasts 360 on CNN — said of Morin, “Lisa is a remarkable talent and I am so happy that she is joining our team. We want to create a really interesting, entertaining, and informative daytime program and Lisa has a terrific vision for the program and the experience needed to make it a reality. I am so excited to start working with her.”
But Oprah Winfrey had a full A ha! moment at her local outpost.
The Saturday before her last show aired, the talk show host popped into a Starbucks and then taped a video about it in exec producer Sheri Salata’s office. She Facebooked the video on June 6 (3,008 thumbs up, 528 comments, including “now you will have time to stop by Starbucks anytime and get a coffee, that’s what’s important….life is too short we need to enjoy the little things all the time”) but posted it on May 25.
“It’s Saturday afternoon. I’ve been here since 11 a.m. It’s a leisurely day. I actually got to stop at a Starbucks, which is a big luxury for me,” she says in the video. “It was like, ‘Wow, I get to stop at Starbucks. I’m not rushing to work and in the makeup chair. As you see, I have no makeup. It’s the little things as we bring this to a clause… All the things most people take for granted, like being able to join a friend for dinner or stop after work to grab a drink… that’s nothing I’ve done in 25 years. It’s all work”
Well Oprah, we’ve been reading your magazine for more than 10 years and watching your show for even longer, and we know you are a big fan of vacations and taking time for renewal. But we also know Gayle King‘s publicist, who said once Gayle called you on your first vacation in over a year to talk about how exciting an O magazine event was, and how inspiring the audience members were — and you hopped on a plane to join without giving it a second thought.
So go ahead and enjoy your Starbucks!
When I was live blogging Oprah‘s third-to-last and second-to-last show from Chicago’s United Center (read it here), the followers and I kept joking about Oprah breaking down into her infamous “ugly cry,” where her face scrunches up as she tries to speak through the tears.
What, exactly, is the ugly cry?
She coined the term after a 1997 show in which her idol, Mary Tyler Moore, showed up unbeknownst to her during a taping of her show. And before her United Center shows, that was the last time she allowed her staff to surprise her on air.
“I was surprised and went into the ugly snot cry,” Winfrey told Entertainment Tonight ahead of her season 25 premiere. “And I had a rule that I’m not supposed to be surprised again.”
Watch the surprise, below.
“I remember seeing Mary and then just trying to control myself,” Oprah says in the video. “How could this happen, and I not know about it? The flood of everything she means to me… I am now thinking of every Saturday night I watched her with the conditioner in my hair, every time I tried to mock her with the vest with little tie, I’m thinking of wanting the ‘O’ above my refrigerator because she had the ‘M,’ thinking of wanting to move to Minneapolis because I thought she really lived there. What she meant to me… and now there she is. It was crazy!”
The best part of the clip is the off-camera segment that aired during the commercial break, where a shocked Oprah asks her staff for Kleenex and admits, “I don’t think I used deodorant this morning. Sweat is running from my armpits!”
“It was one of the happiest and most delirious out of body moments I’ve ever had,” says Oprah of meeting Moore.
After 25 years of taping her daily talk show, Oprah is “now finally away on vaca. Relaxing,” she wrote to her nearly six million Facebook fans on June 1.
Her plans? “Trying not to eat too much. But had 2 slices of the best pizza ever in life today. WHITE TRUFFLE!” she writes. “Had to stop myself. Could have eaten the whole thin sliced, home made thing.”
She’s reading Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand. “I know so many of you have read already. It’s as good as everybody says. 72 pgs in, can’t put it down.” (Will Oprah’s book club go on? This could be Oprah’s 66th selection, if so.)
Oprah promises she’s going to be logging off and unplugging. “Will not be emailing or checking emails on vaca,” she writes. “Hope your summer’s off to a good start, no matter where you are..My new ambition is to make a treasure of the small moments. All of your emails are mini treasures. As was that White Truffle pizza.”
She then signs off with an emoticon: “:-) Oprah.”
10,842 people gave her note a thumbs up, and some 2,847 left comments.
Seems that Oprah hasn’t been able to completely log off. Over the past 24 hours, she’s encouraged her followers to “have a great weekend!” (14,301 thumbs up; 3,451 comments) and said, “Hope everyone is enjoying their weekend!” (11,166 thumbs up; 2,765 comments).
On Oprah‘s last show ever, which aired May 25 from Chicago’s Harpo Studios, she said, “I won’t say goodbye. I’ll just say, ‘Until we meet again.’”
Well, the talk show queen is on vacation for a few months before plunging headfirst into her new network, OWN — and it’ll be even longer until her follow-up show, Oprah’s Next Chapter, hits airwaves in 2012.
In the meantime, we at OprahVoid.com will cultivate the best Oprah moments, what she’s up to, reviews of OWN shows and random O trivia to help fill that 4 p.m. void.