Published on February 1, 2006 By averjoe In Entertainment
It was around Christmas time of 2004 and the T.V. was playing in the background when all of the sudden I hear a constant piercing shriek and rumbling wail without end coming from the television. What could it be? Was it a horror picture? Were people under attack? No, it was the Oprah Winfrey Christmas show. From the point Oprah gave out the first gift to the end of the program she could not utter one word without being drowned out by the screaming of the audience. There was no announcing what the next gift Oprah would bestow on her audience. A wail that lasted for the whole hour in various pitches permeated the program.

Oprah Winfrey has become one powerful woman with her talk show that appeals predominately to middle-middle class, upper middle class and wealthy women. She seems to dominate among these demographics of women.

By the way these categories based on wealth are what one finds in sociology text. I don’t necessarily agree with them and I’m not completely informed about all of the criteria they use for their classifications besides the assets element.

I think she aims her show at an upper middle class to rich audience for the most part although I cannot really back this statement up because I have not watched that many programs.

I don’t watch many talk shows on regular broadcast television. I peak in on, on occasion the programs “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno”, “Conan O’ Brien” (shows comedy is getting tamer and tamer as he approaches his date to takeover “The Tonight Show”) and “Live with Regis and Kelly”. These shows also serve as what I call background noise which is when you have your T.V. on with that program showing but you’re really not watching it.

Programs I peak in on even less than those mentioned above (I channel surf a lot) are “Letterman”, “Charlie Rose” and “Tavis Smiley”. If any of these programs are interesting the T.V. stays on that channel, which happens sometime.

Oprah Winfrey also appeals to lower middle class and poor women. Her popularity among all demographics as measured buy income explains the popularity and success of her program after all these years and different formats or content. It is also why she can form a reading club in which her choice of book for the month becomes an instant best seller.

Which brings us to the author James Frey whose memoir that was so gripping to Oprah that she had the author on her program and chose Frey’s book as one of her reading clubs’ books of the month. As it turns out the facts of Frey’s life as told in the book “A Million Little Pieces” are mostly fiction.

After initially saying the book was still worth reading and the author was okay, Oprah eventually changed her tune.

To show how ingenious she is she then had the author back on her program where she made the author explain himself. After that she publicly announced that she was embarrassed to have supported the book and personally offended by what the author did. It was gripping television and Oprah brilliantly pulled it off.

Oprah is so popular that she can easily talk about things as diverse as the sexual act called ‘tossing the salad’ and child rearing to Katrina and Iraq without missing a beat.

So European shopkeepers are forewarned that to dis Oprah is to dis one who is an American Woman’s icon.

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