In the premiere show of her farewell season, Oprah Winfrey
surprised an audience full of 300 of her biggest fans by telling them she was
flying all of them to Australia.
"This is my last chance to do something really
big," Winfrey told her audience. She said her show had been working with
Qantas and Tourism Australia to put together an eight-day trip that will
culminate with a "once in a lifetime Oprah experience" from the
Sydney Opera House.
The Oprah show in Sydney will tape Dec. 14 and at least
two episodes from Australia will air in early 2011.
In 1993, Oprah flew her audience to Philadelphia for the day.
The audience members also received a smartphone from
Motorola to take on the trip to Australia.
Earlier in the show, Chevrolet provided a car so that six
Oprah fans from Boston could roadtrip to attend the show in Chicago.
Special guests on the Oprah premiere included John Travolta,
Don Johnson (who Oprah wanted as her first guest, but couldn't book),
Paul Simon, who sung an updated version of the song he wrote for the
show's 10th anniversary, and Jimmie Johnson, who surprised an
Oprah fan who also loves NASCAR.
The show began with a new open showing scenes and theme
songs from previous seasons. She entered with Travolta, who has appeared on the
show 11 year ago.
Winfrey thanked her fans, saying that she "treasures the
emails and letter you have sent to me. You've grown up with me. You have
raised your children with me and you've all have been on this wild ride
every step of the way. And for that I have deep, deep gratitude for you all."