After some 5000 episodes, Oprah Winfrey is airing her last syndicated show today. It airs at 9 a.m. in Chicago on WLS-TV, which discovered the young TV personality and put her on a path to become a star. We’ll be watching and blogging. Check back here for updates. (Times are Eastern Time.)
10:54 Oprah says “Gratitude is the single greatest treasure I will take with me from this experience. To be embraced by all of you who watched is one of the greatest honors any human being could have. I’ve been asked many times during this farewell season ‘is ending this show bittersweet?’ Well I say all sweet, no bitter.”
“Thank you all for your support and your trust in me. I thank you for sharing this yellow brick road of blessings,” Oprah says.
Oprah signs off: “I won’t say goodbye I’ll just say until we meet again. To God be the glory.”
She kisses Steadman in the audience and then greets other audience members. She Waves to crowd from stage. Gets standing ovation. Tears up then walks off.
Over the credits, Oprah can be seen hugging staff members lined up in hallway backstage. Finally, she picks up her dog, says “we did it” and leaves.
10:52 Oprah’s voice says the show was sponsored in part by Target. Other ads from Chevy, Zoo Keeper. Wal-Mart. TNT’s Franklin & Bash.
10:48 ”You all have been a safe harbor for me. I hope you’ll be a safe harbor for someone else. Talks about first grade teacher, Mrs. Duncan. She validated me. She asked to be here and I’m honored to have her here today. ”
Oprah says: “Audience I want you to stay in touch. Here’s my email address: firstname.lastname@example.org.” She says she’ll read and answer as much email as she can.
Oprah tears up talking aboutgrowing a lonely little girl, who learned what love is, and thanks the audience again.
10:46: Ads for Crazy Stupid Love. Chrysler. AT&T.
10:44 Oprah says she has no regrets, but wishes she could have done more about the sexual abuse of children. She says she spoke about her own abuse, but “I couldn’t release my own shame till I had a child molester on the show. It wasn’t my fault” One proud moment: Had Tyler Perry talking about his abuse. And a group of 100 men, showing pictures of how old they were when they were first abused. Perry is in the audience.
10:41 More commercials. Here’s a special one: “We want to take a moment to express our gratitude. There never been anyone like you. Thanks. Oprah. We’ll continue to expect great things.” From Kohl’s. Also: Johnson & Johnson. Kia. Citi credit cards.
10:38 “I took last drive in to Harpo Studios. Today is the last time so the drive is a little different. Harpo team stays working on OWN, the building stays. Everyone at Harpo considers it a gift to serve all of you. They work 17-hour days. We are all aligned here with the vision of service.” She thanks her staff. “What is the secret to the show? I non-jokingly say: my team and Jesus. Nothing but the hand of God has made this all possible for me. Which god am I talking about? The one and only G-O-D. That grace is working in my life at every single turn. It can work with for you, if you let it in.”
10:32 “I spoke to 30,000 people on this show. All 30,000 had one thing in common. They all wanted validation. Do you see me? Do you hear me? Does what I say mean anything to you? Understanding that one principle has allowed me to hold this microphone all these years.”
10:28: Oprah showing comments from viewers on Web. “We’ve learned a lot and had our share of hoopla.” Clips o fOpra riding an elephant, swinging from rope. She nNever jumped from a plane. One more year and she would have caved in to staff and done it, she says.
10:25 More commercials. IHOP. Cars 2. Wal-Mart. Museum of Science and Industry. Safe Auto. Smithe Furniture. U.S. Cellular. Looks like a lot of local support on Oprah’s home station. And a promo for Windy City Live, which starts tomorrow on WLS.
10:21 Showing a scene from The Color Purple. “Everything you’ve done to me, already done to you. It’s the golden rule,” Oprah says. “That’s what we’ve learned on this show. You are responsible for your life.”
10:17 Thanks staff for United Center shows. “Was I surprised? Did you see my face?” Oprah knew Maya Angelou was probably going to show up.
10:12: First commercial: Dreamworks’ film The Help. Wonder if they paid the $1 million CBS was asking per spot. Then a promo for the TNT series Falling Skies, also from Dreamworks. Now Walgreen’s and Wendy’s. Bath and Body Works. Last up AT&T.
10:10 “You let me into your homes to talk to you every day. As this show ends, each one of you has your own platform. Mine is a stage in a studio. Yours is wherever you go. That is your talk show and that is where your power lies. Every day you’re letting your life speak for you. You receive in direct proporation to what you give.”
“You have the power to change somebody’s life. Everybody has a calling. Mine aligned with my profession. But everyone gets called.”
10:06 “There will be no guests. No makeovers no surprises. You will not be getting a car or a treat. This is about me saying thank you. This is my love letter to you.”
10:04 Oprah says that for first show, there was no audience. Had to use donuts to lure early audiences to studio.
10:03 Steadman in the house.
10:01 New song for open. Lyrics are about “25 years.” There’s a “1 show left” graphic. They’re showing clips from first episode.
Oprah comes out in pink dress. Audience is dress in bright colors too, as requested.
“25 years and I’m still saying thank you America. There are no words to match this moment,” Oprah says.
First co-host at AM Chicago is in audience
9:57: WLS reminds viewers that a new local show will be replacing Oprah starting tomorrow.