On Wednesday, the world bid farewell to “The Oprah Winfrey Show.” She went out with a quiet one-hour studio show, a stark contrast from the grandiose United Center spectacle of the previous two days.
I remember the old country song as I think about Winfrey’s exit from daytime television. “Who’s going to fill her shoes?” Alas, she did some self-selection in the process. No, I’m not even counting the OWN experiment that you’ll find on cable. She begat Drs. Oz and Phil.
How much does the pile of good produced by Oprah shrink when you mention the name “Phil?” Seriously, there’s got to be a penalty associated with his rise to prominence. If I want someone to yell at me and call me a jackass, I’ll open the phone lines on the radio show or call on members of my family.
For these 25 years, Ms. Winfrey has mastered the art of framing a topic and giving people a platform to articulate a position. Along the way, she’s bellowed introductions to countless guests, products, giveaways, performers and a million other things. If she’s yelled about it — it sold!
* She’s one of the masters of product placement – I give her credit for this at the highest level. It’s one thing to win toothpaste and get the voice-over treatment on Bob Barker’s “Price is Right.” It’s another to piece that into a bit on oral hygiene on “The Oprah Winfrey Show.” Sell, sell, sell.
All the while, Americans jumped onboard Winfrey’s platform. She’s the mother to a movement and helped shape a new way of thinking. Empowering. Uplifting. Use whatever word you will.
If Oprah promoted it, it won. She has told America how to think about countless issues, products and people. As the credits rolled on Wednesday, I can’t help but believe that a feeling of emptiness splashed over the viewing audience. What’s next?
I offer to fill the void.
I don’t know anything about many of the topics proffered on such shows. But, I’ve logged some miles along the way. I count working in corn fields, restaurant kitchens and cubicles in my resume.
I can tell you how I feel your pain. I have a little bit of girth to me. And, most importantly, I am a fantastic yeller. I can introduce a segment like nobody’s business.
Let me be your sherpa for the next decade. I’ll tell you what to do. In return, you’ll help me figure out what I want to be.
See. It’s win-win.