Arts and Entertainment


What is Oprah Winfrey’s contribution to television?

Oprah Winfrey (1954–) became the first black woman to host a nationally syndicated weekday talk show, The Oprah Winfrey Show, on February 8, 1986. The show, often called simply Oprah, garnered forty-seven Daytime Emmy Awards between 1986 and 2000, when Winfrey stopped submitting it for consideration. After twenty-five seasons, she ended the show with the 2011 “farewell season,” with the final show on May 25. She started her career at WTVF, a CBS local affiliate in Nashville, Tennessee (where in 1971 she was the first woman co-anchor), and later moved to Chicago. In 1984 Winfrey took over A.M. Chicago, which aired opposite Phil Donahue, and later expanded to a one-hour television show. She formed Harpo Productions, which enabled her to develop her own projects, and in 1989 bought her own television and movie production studio. She is the first black woman in television and film to own her own production company. Oprah’s Book Club, an on-air reading club that ran from 1996 to 2002, aided in promoting reading nationwide. In 1997 Winfrey launched Oprah’s Angel Network that encourages people to help others who are in need. On January 1, 2011, Winfrey launched the series premier of her network called OWN (Oprah Winfrey’s Network), a joint venture with Discovery Communications.

Running from 1986 to 2011, The Oprah Winfrey Show was one of the most successful daytime talk shows in television history and made its star one of the richest and most powerful women in the American media.


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