美國現象: 開播25年的 “The Oprah Winfrey Show.”畫下巨點
Gathering for Thanks and Farewell
Published: May 25, 2011
CHICAGO — Even on Oprah’s last day her fans did as they were told. And as usual, they went away happy.
The TV Watch: Television Diva Gives Thanks and Signs Off (May 26, 2011)
ArtsBeat: Share Your Oprah Memories (May 24, 2011)
Talk Show Ends, and Oprah Moves On (May 23, 2011)
Times Topic: Oprah Winfrey
Paul Beaty/Associated Press
Dressed in colorful clothes as instructed, audience members for the last taping of “The Oprah Winfrey Show” assembled outside Harpo Studios on Tuesday to take part in television history and to pay homage to the woman who reshaped the medium and, some claimed, their lives.
“We all look like a bag of Skittles,” said Jackie Polk, who was decked out in purple and who booked a $600 flight to Chicago from her home in Georgia for the taping. Another fan, Sally Rudy, told Gayle King, Ms. Winfrey’s best friend, who was wandering through the crowd with a video camera, that Ms. Winfrey had “helped me raise my children for the last 25 years.”
She came to the taping in Chicago, she said, “Just to tell her thank you.”
The episode was broadcast by local television stations on Wednesday, 18 months after Ms. Winfrey decided to end her 25-year-old talk show to concentrate on OWN, her new cable channel. During the show Ms. Winfrey called the final episode a love letter to her viewers, some of whom had been hand-picked to be in the audience for the taping on Tuesday afternoon.
Some came from far away: Shriya Pilgaonkar, 22, flew from Mumbai, India, after being informed by a producer that she could attend Ms. Winfrey’s next-to-last show at the United Center, which was taped last week. That same producer found a standing-room-only spot for Ms. Pilgaonkar for the finale.
“It was almost like I was meant to be here,” she said. She wrote a letter to Ms. Winfrey last summer recounting how inspirational the talk show host had been to her. “She’s always spoken about how everyone needs to be much more of themselves,” Ms. Pilgaonkar said.
Other attendees submitted essays on Oprah.com earlier this year explaining why they should receive tickets to the finale. They were invited last Friday or Saturday to come to Chicago. At first some were told that the taping would take place on Monday, the day that Ms. Winfrey and her producers originally had in mind. But then they were told that the taping would be on Tuesday. Some people canceled their travel reservations and booked new itineraries.
If they had been expecting an extravaganza like the star-studded shows taped at the United Center, they were surprised again. Afterward, Ms. Polk said Ms. Winfrey had “ended it with class.”
Though people like Ms. King and Maria Shriver were in the audience, Ms. Winfrey was the only speaker during the hour. She stood most of the time and introduced clips from past episodes. There were no gifts. What the audience received, Ms. Polk said, was Ms. Winfrey’s message to “find your full potential.”
As the taping ended, Ms. Winfrey walked the halls of her famous studio here on Washington Street hugging and high-fiving staff members and saying, “We did it.”
If those in the audience were hoping for a big giveaway as in past shows (would everybody get a car?), they didn’t betray any disappointment.
“It felt like a commencement speech,” Amy Korin, an audience member, said after the taping. “I feel like I should have been taking notes,” said Jessica Troke, another woman in the audience.