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Sat Dec 20 06:23:43 CAT 2014

Secret behind Winfrey's success

Phumla Matjila | 27 June, 2011 23:55

The third-year law student didn't expect the response Oprah Winfrey gave when he asked what had made her talk show so successful.

"Oprah Winfrey," the 57-year-old media mogul replied to rapturous applause from 4500 people in a University of the Free State hall on Friday.

"I'm not even trying to brag about that. The difference between my show and other shows was, me. It really is. This is it, you're looking at it.

"For every show I ever did, I would ask the producers to come to me not only with the idea, but with the intention behind the idea. I said that so many times, they got sick of it.

"Every single day for the past 25 years, right until the last show [in May in the US], except for two shows which they surprised me with, I would sit with the producer in my office and we would go over the guests, the scripts, what I would say and how I would say it, in such a way that I wanted to know how it would serve the viewer.

"Most TV is about getting the numbers, the viewers. For me it was about the heart space.

"I asked myself how I can be of value to my viewers. How can I say something so that you can hear me, be moved by that, changed by that."

Winfrey, who was awarded an honorary doctorate in education by the Kovsies, said that was why being a news anchor had been hard and frustrating for her.

"It was difficult for me not to have any emotions. It was not the right space for me."

She was fired as a newsreader because she was too emotional.

But that led to her talk show: "When you get fired, you think it is the worst thing. For me, failure is just the universe saying: 'Move in another direction'."

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