The Oprah Winfrey Show ran for 25 years and started out offering the usual daytime fare, but gradually morphed into an iconic lifestyle brand that did everything big. Oprah Winfrey not only became a household name, but perhaps the most powerful media mogul of our time. After over a decade on the air, Winfrey made a decision to transform her talk show into a vehicle of enlightenment that would inspire viewers to “live their best life." And in the process, The Oprah Winfrey Show upped their production value and brought a level of unprecedented grandeur to the genre.
Oprah (the show) was everything—the single daytime destination for a legion of followers who wanted to explore cultural phenomenon, examine newsworthy events, and watch the juiciest celebrity interviews— and of course, get their hefty dose of uplift. From the salacious secrets of soccer moms, to the crusade against texting while driving, to Tom Cruise’s crazy couch jumping, we were there. But now the show that became a mainstay in pop culture has been off the air for the better part of a year, and I find I don’t miss it the way I thought I would.
Like many after the announcement that The Oprah Winfrey Show was ending, I counted down the days to the last broadcast anticipating I would feel an irreplaceable void in my heart—and afternoon TV time—and suffer endlessly from an insatiable craving for “aha moments”. But nearly a year down the line from the finale, instead of experiencing the Winfrey withdrawal I thought I would, it’s more like, “Eh, I’m good.”
It’s not that I’ve forgotten about the show and simply moved on, or even accepted Winfrey’s presence on the OWN Network as a suitable substitute for her talk show (I dig Oprah’s Next Chapter but, you know what I mean when I say it's not the same.). It's just that somehow, I’m “in a good place” (got that from Miss O) with it no longer being on the air. I've gotten through this year like a champ–all my my Oprah lessons in tow. I'm resolved. I’m not looking for anyone else to fill Winfrey’s shoes because that, well, that would just be cray cray. No one will be the "next Oprah." The-Black-billionairess-with-a-book-club-Oprah? It'll never happen.
Winfrey didn’t change the daytime game, she reinvented it, built an empire around it, and left a media legacy that will never be replicated. Winfrey is the Michael Jackson of the daytime talk show—period. And in that, I’ve reconciled with what I thought would be feelings of loss. I’m not missing The Oprah Winfrey Show because I recognize and accept that it’s the end of an era.
If anyone, anywhere else ever gives an entire audience a car, we will know who did it first. If any show fills an audience with people who’ve all lost a hundred pounds each, we’ll know where we saw it first. If another show reunites long lost relatives who’ve been living on opposite sides of the world, I’ll be moved, but I will reminisce over Winfrey’s episode where she reunited two sisters from Rwanda with parents who were thought to have been murdered in the horrific genocide. (That one still gets me choked up.)
So I’ve made my peace with The Oprah Winfrey Show being over, and don’t even watch re-runs of the final season on OWN. It’s over, but it is cherished for what it is—an old friend who I’ve lost touch with, but still remember fondly, knowing that our best times, lovingly remain in the past.
Are you wishing The Oprah Winfrey Show was still on the air?