Friday, November 20, 2009

Oprah quits. World stops spinning.

So the big news of the day is that Oprah will end her long-lived talk show, the Oprah Winfrey Show, in 2011. I know this because my BlackBerry lit up with all sorts of "Breaking News" alerts yesterday afternoon.

Breaking news? Give me a serious break. A fire that injures or kills people would certainly qualify. So would a military coup somewhere, as well as a mudslide that buries the world's last remaining significant eucalyptus tree reserve and threatens a rare community of pygmy koala bears. You know, important stuff that permanently changes our lives could all logically be thought of as breaking news

But this? I risk the wrath of Oprah superfans by saying this isn't news, much less breaking news. And it doesn't rank up there with koala extinction.

She isn't retiring. She isn't disappearing. She's simply taking her brand off of broadcast television and moving it over to cable. There are enough media channels in the universe that anyone who needs an Oprah fix will easily be able to get it after September 9, 2011, when her current show fades to black.

Remember when we all held our collective breath before Jay Leno signed off of the Tonight Show earlier this year? Well, now that he's essentially rubber-stamping the same show at 10 p.m. every night, we've all gone back to ignoring him. Life went on after Jay. It'll go on after Oprah, too.

I've always respected Oprah for trying to improve our world. In a media landscape marked by self centredness and pettiness, she's consistently kept her focus on helping those in need and inspiring the rest of us to follow along. But turning what is essentially a career strategy decision into a cultural milestone smacks of overkill. Can we please get a grip?

Besides, we still have Dr. Phil and Dr. Oz to fill our keep-it-simple, feel-good pipeline of middle-America pablum. Whether we like it or not, her legacy will outlive her show by a long shot.

Your turn: When we take TV too seriously. Please discuss.

12 comments:

Beverly said...

Au contraire, I find Oprah very self-centered. I remember once when she had a guest on that I was particularly interested in hearing what he had to say, she kept interrupting him to interject her pearls of wisdom.

I think she long ago lost her effectiveness with some, not all. I check to see who she has on and then generally turn away.

TV is highly overrated, and our country is in a mess, partly because of it and the rest of the circus going on around us.

Sorry for the rant...no, I'm not.

Christine Gram said...

I agree... this is not news. It's showbiz and shouldn't be in our headlines.

Blond Girl said...

Self centered? Nah, couldn't be. I mean, she only named her production company, magazine, and African school for disadvantaged girls after herself. She only appears on every single cover of her magazine. No, she's not self-centered. Just exceptionally self-aware. And you can be certain that he retirement will have "self-aware" written all over it. I wouldn't mind being in the audience that last week. I bet she has some great giveaways planned.

As for taking TV too seriously, I don't. Well, unless you count my obsession with Good Eats and all things Alton Brown. But that's not TV, that's cooking! :-)

Tabor said...

I disagree. She is not self-centered but building an empire and making tons of money in our society means that even if you sneeze people want to know if you are catching a cold. CEO's retire from companies and it is news. I no longer watch her shows as I think she has peaked and is going down hill. Smart time to move on.

Sara said...

It is not news! Especially since she is not going off the air for two blasted years...Oh, please.

I am totally over her! I agree that she is self-centered...I also at times think that she can be racist...

Yes, she has done some good things - and seems to care about people - but not to the point of excluding herself in her giving.

These statements are my own humble opinion...

Thom said...

Thank you for stopping by my friend. I hope you and your family are doing well :)

Judy Smith said...

I wish her the best in her adventures and may God Bless...

Stephanie said...

I think I have watched her show 1 time in the past 12 years and that was last week when Stephenie Meyer was on.

Pamela said...

she's a smart woman. Makes me think of that song "The Gambler"

Know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em.

Mel Fraase said...

I'm not a big Orpah fan, and I'm not at all concerned that she's leaving. They make all sound so sudden. Sure, any announcement is sudden the first time you hear it, but she's not even going anywhere for almost 2 years. She's not quitting tomorrow. It's all hype, and I don't play into it.

Mojo said...

Other than during hockey season I couldn't tell you if my television even works or not. Truly. I catch the odd bit here and there, but I suppose this is news to me. As in it was something I hadn't heard.

And while I wouldn't consider it earth-shaking, it's certainly more newsworthy than the latest Hollywood Red Carpet Wardrobe Malfunction. Which ... well don't get me started or I'll write a whole (other) post on it here in your comments.

Dean Sanderson said...

no doubt Oprah's departure in 2011 will be a key event in the apocalypse scheduled for 2012