About Entertainment – Magazine –
The Oprah Winfrey Show is to end in September 2011, after 25 years on the air.
From controversies to celebrity sofa-jumping, here are some of the most memorable moments from the chat show’s history.
The very first episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show was broadcast on 8 September, 1986. Initially, the format was more akin to a talk show, covering everyday issues with everyday people.
How to Marry the Man or Woman of Your Dreams was described as "a good old fashioned dating show" by producers. The topic struck a chord with viewers, easing the show on to the road to success.
To represent her recent 67lbs (30kg) weight loss, in November 1988, Winfrey wheeled out a wagon carrying the same amount of fat. It was to start a national obsession with her yo-yoing weight.
She later described it as her "biggest, fattest" mistake saying: "I had literally starved myself for four months to get into that pair of size 10 jeans. Two hours after that show, I started eating to celebrate – of course, within two days those jeans no longer fit!"
Winfrey delighted nearly 300 audience member by giving them new cars
Winfrey has become famous for her gift-giving stunts.
Annually since 2002, a segment entitled Oprah’s Favourite Things has seen audience members being given everything from laptops to camcorders, clothes, TVs, DVD players and credit cards loaded with $1000 (£607).
At the start of series 19 in 2005, Winfrey surprised nearly 300 members of her audience by giving them each a new car – a prize fund worth $7m (£4.5m).
Winfrey’s interview with Michael Jackson in 1993 from his Neverland Ranch is the highest rated single episode of the chat show.
The interview saw the star take Winfrey on a tour of his house and grounds, perform the moonwalk in his private theatre and address many of the rumours surrounding him including the revelation he suffered from the skin-pigment disorder vitiligo.
During a discussion about mad cow disease in 1996, Winfrey commented that she had been put off eating burgers. Two years later, a group of Texas cattle ranchers sued Winfrey for libel.
The entire Oprah Winfrey show had to be moved to Amarillo, Texas, for a month while a trial was conducted. However, a gagging order meant Winfrey was not allowed to mention the trial on her show or explain why she was there. She was later acquitted on all charges in 2002.
The Hollywood star appeared on the show in May 2005 to promote his latest film, War of the Worlds.
However the interview became more famous for Cruise’s excitable behaviour as he jumped around the sofa and fell to his knees with declarations of love for his then-girlfriend Katie Holmes.
After repeatedly hugging Winfrey, the star ended up running backstage and dragged an embarrassed looking Holmes back on set to display his affection for her even more.
A host of celebrities and politicians have appeared on the show
A whole host of celebrities and politicians have lined up to either promote their wares or talk about their personal problems on Oprah. In fact, you’d be hard pressed to find a celebrity who has not been on the show.
Recent guests have included signer Whitney Houston, who gave her first major interview for seven years, and opened up about her drug addiction; and Mackenzie Phillips, who alleged she had a 10-year incestuous relationship with her father John Phillips, leader of 1960s group the Mamas and the Papas.
Other heavyweights include Liberace, who made his final public appearance on Oprah on Christmas Day in 1986, dying six weeks later from Aids; and Elizabeth Taylor who refused to answer questions about her marriages and current relationship. Winfrey later described it as her worst ever interview.
Britain’s Got Talent and X Factor stars Susan Boyle and Leona Lewis also got a US boost when Simon Cowell brought both of them to Oprah’s attention.
Winfrey began Oprah’s Book Club in 1996, where a new novel would be selected each month for viewers to read and discuss. Titles chosen became bestsellers overnight, often selling several million copies thanks to Winfrey’s endorsement.
However, the star’s endorsement of James Frey’s memoir, A Million Little Pieces, landed her in controversy in 2005 after a whistle-blowing website revealed that chunks of the book – dealing with his recovery from drug addiction – were fabricated.
Winfrey invited Frey onto the show and forced him to admit he lied about the claims made in his book.
The first episode of the latest series saw 21,000 audience members in Chicago surprise Winfrey by breaking out in a synchronised dance routine while the Black Eyed Peas performed their hit I Gotta Feeling.
The dance had been taught to the entire crowd earlier in the day.