Oprah Winfrey Spawns PR Industry
The "Oprah Effect" is nothing to scoff at – the diva of daytime has influenced everything from book sales (the 1875 novel Anna Karenina hit number one on the New York Times bestseller list after she recommended it for her book club), to Presidential elections (University of Maryland economists released a study quantifying Winfrey’s influence on the Democratic primaries), to beef sales (Texas cattlemen sued Oprah in 1996 claiming her statements about giving up beef had negatively affected the industry). So it’s no surprise that there is an entire industry of PR spaniels whose job it is to get clients on The Oprah Winfrey Show.
Winfrey was recently named the most powerful celebrity of 2010 by Forbes magazine, followed by Beyonce. Simply due to her influence, getting a spot on the show is much like getting an endorsement from Winfrey. Publicists, media coaches, and others in the industry also help to support the show by pitching stories and ideas to producers. But with Winfrey’s announcement to end the show in 2011, those PR industry folks may have to find something else to do with their lives.
"I knew then what a miraculous opportunity I had been given, but I certainly never could have imagined the yellow brick road of blessings that have led me here," Oprah said in November of her decision to leave the show after 25 years. But just because her show is ending doesn’t mean it’s the last we’ll hear from Oprah. Winfrey will be embarking on her next project, the Oprah Winfrey Network, to launch next year. A film based on the unauthorized biography by Kitty Kelley, an investigative journalist who also has written books on Jacqueline Kennedy and Frank Sinatra, is also in the works to become a film. –ELENA COX
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