I can't say that I watch Oprah, but I have watched her in the past. I am still surprised by the number of viewers who watch and follow her "religiously". Perhaps "religiously" should not be in quotes...
She has some interesting qualities, no matter how insincere and annoying I personally find her draw, that make her uniquely of interest.
First of all, all of the "BIG STARS" and celebrities claim to be close and personal friends to her and are fired up about appearing on her show and performing especially for her. While I didn't see the final show, I saw the headlines about all of the people who came to the venue for her finale. It was a veritable Who's Who in 2011. Everyone who is anyone wants to be associated with her. It's phenomenal. I don't know of anyone else in broadcast history with such a following. Even Johnny Carson and Barbra Walters couldn't compete.
She also, honestly, is a good interviewer. She gets to the heart of the matter, to the significant "deed" or issue in a person's past and that person tells all. It's remarkable. She sticks with an interview, demands an answer, and somehow manages to keep people from feeling attacked. I have even seen her interview Skin Heads, all of whom kept their cool and composure while on the air. In fact, she managed to keep her cool too, in spite of their racist jargon and slurs.
She manages to make people feel her warm and fuzzy side. She shares her vulnerabilities and comes "out" with her own issues. Rare, indeed. She reassures the viewer that she is imperfect, struggling, and flawed. I think people are able to relate to her struggles on a personal level. She would share her weight struggles right with the audience; who can't relate to that somehow? Regardless of how often she is on the "Most Wealthy" list, or dining with the princess of some country, or paying off hundreds of thousands of dollars in bills for viewers, somehow, she is also you, me, your neighbor, your friend. She makes herself someone real. She is your very own Gir freeeeen. Somehow, though she is talking to millions, she is also talking to YOU directly.
And she must employ some of the best marketers, publishers, producers in the BIZ. I don't know how much money she has or how many various things she is involved in financially, but her name and face are everywhere. She is even the sole cover girl on her very own magazine. With her best friend as the editor. That is a GOOD GIG if you can get it.
I have always found Dr. Phil to be a HORRIBLE guest. I've only seen a few shows with him, and these were years ago, but he was SO awful. Don't contact him unless you want the male of the couple to be the culprit and the female of the couple totally validated and worthy. It's unpleasant to watch him make money through his affiliation with her. Consumers of his marital tripe advice didn't even skip a beat when he, himself, was divorced by his wife.
But the spiritual bent to her shows in the later years made them unwatchable to me.
I dislike the fan base, actually. They forget to think for themselves. What to read? Who to vote for? What to wear? Who to like? Is it Oprah's fault? Critics say she has negatively impacted the "Women's Movement" with her views on sexuality, spirituality, and health. Having watched so few episodes in the past ten years, I couldn't comment on this.
So, her warmth, compassion, significant and continual philanthropy, and other qualities will probably be missed by the masses. I, for one, won't miss her shows...not since Luther Van Dross died. I would watch her show just to see him!
I am curious to see what she does with her money now...I know she will push the envelope and make the change she wishes to see in the world.