For 25 years Oprah dominated not only the television talk show industry, but television as a whole. She amassed many accomplishments during her reign: nonstop Number 1 ratings, tackling stereotypes, groundbreaking interviews, generosity, book clubs, and a lot of laughs and love. This paved the way to her receiving her own channel. But how exactly did Oprah get her talk show to be so successful?
- By simply being refreshingly meaningful and insightful. Too often these days, we are overwhelmed with superficial ideas from superficial movies and shows. It is refreshing to actually watch a program and walk away feeling enlightened and empowered. Oprah was able to do just that to her viewers. She basically birthed the movement of “self-help” TV shows. She was interested in what people feel and cry, what people were proud or scared of. She broke down barriers and nothing was off limits. She changed the nature of journalism when she became part of the audience on an episode where she featured both victims of sexual abuse and their molesters. She used this episode to convince that she too had been a victim of sexual abuse. She used every episode to help her audience and viewers transform into their best selves.
- She established her presence on multiple platforms. She ran The Oprah Winfrey Talk Show, her own magazine and book club, has her own charities, and ultimately her own channel. Bookstores have entire sections dedicated to Oprah’s picks. Products she chose to promote on her show would soon after be sold out everywhere. When you build a platform as large as Oprah’s, you can really impact the public’s actions and opinions.
Writing this has me wanting to go binge watch some Oprah episodes! I think we can all stand to benefit from studying Oprah’s approaches and the lessons she promotes. After all, not just anybody can revolutionize TV industry in the span of two decades.