How do you end a storied 25-year franchise? Do you give more cars away, send more people to Australia or trot out dozens of celebrities who couldn’t make it to the United Center the week before? Or maybe a group of the host’s lifelong heroes can make unexpected appearances that render her awash in tears?
It’s been a couple of weeks since Oprah Winfrey bid farewell to her legendary syndicated talk show and over six million regular daytime viewers as she devotes herself to her struggling new cable network.
Those who were expecting a slam-bang fireworks extravaganza were sorely disappointed. After all, that was what the previous two shows were for. The Oprah Winfrey Show ended as it should have — with class, grace and dignity. The May 25 finale was an hour of pure Oprah in all her earnest self-reflection where she touched on all the successes, failures, disappointments, highs, lows, joys and pains that have marked her unprecedented run.
Despite the hype that typically accompanies such a major TV event, Winfrey avoided the temptation to live up to it by going out with a bang. Though much of the bang was bung in those previous two shows, the last show was reserved solely for Oprah herself. As promised, there were no surprises and there were no giveaways so the audience for that final show had to be content with being a part of television history as opposed to walking away with a car or a tree.
Oprah spoke from the heart. She charged us all to continue to dream big (as we all should) and to know that we are all worthy and deserving of the best that the world has to offer. Take it to heart. We can all have our version of The Oprah Winfrey Show. We all have something to say and have an obligation to the world to say it.
We all have a audience who is listening and there are many others out there who will listen because they need to hear what we have to say. People need/want to be uplifted, encouraged, pushed, made to think, consider a new perspective or simply to be entertained and taken out of the realities of everyday life. That audience may not be six million people a day. That platform may not be a daily talk show. Whoever the audience and whatever the platform, say what you need to say until it’s for someone else to speak.
We have our marching orders.
An estimated 18 million viewers watched the show according to Nielsen rating figures but with screening parties and other private out-of-home events scheduled during that hour, that number will never truly be known.