Over the weekend at Clutch Magazine Online, I wrote a post chronicling Oprah Winfrey returning just a wee bit to her tabloid roots (but like, it's still fancy n' stuff) in her effort to raise her cable network's ratings. This week's "boo-hoo bait" was a teary-eyed Rihanna recounting her love for abusive ex-boyfriend, singer Chris Brown. But where have I seen this from Oprah before?
Here's a snippet:
There was a lot of tut-tutting and eye rolls when Winfrey brought the Kardashian family in for a chat, but no one should have been surprised. While she’s become spiritual in later years, a much younger Winfrey rose to prominence on the backs of sensational daytime guests and stories that were typical in the hyper-competitive, exploitive, pre-reality show days of 1980s talk. It was never so much Jerry Springer, but not necessarily above a good, tabloid tawdry tale.
Winfrey famously gave up programming toward lowest common denominator after she didn’t need it anymore to get ratings, but she’s still a business woman. She’s not above going back to the tabloid well to water her media garden.
Most of “Oprah’s Next Chapter” interview subjects have leaned more toward the sensational than “something Oprah thought was neat that day.” Fewer upstarts Winfrey can turn into stars and a lot more Paris Jackson talking about her father Michael Jackson’s death and Whitney Houston’s daughter Bobbi Kristina talking about life without Mom to the tune of a record 3.5 million viewers in March.
After all, if you’re celeb with a shocking, sad, or even tawdry tale to tell, Winfrey still has the panache to make her the go-to-news doyenne for gravitas with a soft celebrity-friendly touch. Sure, you could give the same interview to Barbara Walters or Katie Couric, but they’re no O. Even with a bit of luster knocked off, her media star still shines the brightest.