Saturday, February 5, 2011

Fear & Loathing in Oprah Land

She swept into Australia and took the country by storm. Well certainly the media that is who all sang from the one song sheet as the Oprah Winfrey tour Downunder descended upon the nation with over 300 guests and 200 staff (and Gayle of course) and spread to points all over the land while the collective readers of the nation's tabloids were treated to every thrilling encounter with a wallaby, barbecue or rutting Koala and so on.

No-one could possibly deny that Oprah did the country proud with her TV specials recorded at the Sydney Opera House which were broadcast in the US last month. It remains to be seen if the expected tourist flow-on is forthcoming and certainly having what could be the world's most powerful media personality spruiking for Australia has to be seen as a major publicity coup.

But can one image what it's like when that  power is turned against you ?.

The writer Kitty Kelley found out when she published her best selling book Oprah : A Biography. Doors slammed shut all over the place as she details in this piece just published in The American Scholar titled  Unauthorised But Not Untrue:

 "I had felt the chill of media disdain when my publisher began booking my promotion tour. Larry King barred the door to his CNN talk show because, he said, he didn’t want to offend Oprah. Barbara Walters did the same thing, proclaiming on The View that the only reason people wrote unauthorized biographies was to dig “dirt.” There was no room for me at Charlie Rose’s roundtable and no comfy seat next to David Letterman. The late-night comic had recently reconciled with Oprah after a 16-year rift and did not want to risk another. On my 10-city tour I made few, if any, appearances on ABC-owned-and-operated stations because most of the stations that broadcast The Oprah Winfrey Show are owned by ABC or its affiliates. No one wanted to displease the diva of daytime television"

There is much much more in her article as Kelley writes about researching biographies of the Bush family, Frank Sinatra, Jacqueline Kennedy and more. Read the full story here.

courtesy Kitty Kelley (c)