I’ve been in denial about this moment but now it has finally come. Today, the Oprah Winfrey Show as we know it, will come to an end.
I remember a distant cousin visiting from Austria back in 2003 who didn’t have a clue who she was. I asked him if he had been living under a rock? How many of us grew up with Oprah? How many of us got permission to be the women we were meant to be?
I don’t remember the first time I watched the show — the when or why — but I do remember the first time I saw her give away her favorite things and thought how could anyone be that generous? I remember Mattie Stepanek, the introduction of Dr. Phil, the opening of Oprah’s school in Africa. I remember watching Tina Turner in concert, and Robert Redford being interviewed with Barbara Streisand for the first time.
I learned how to keep a gratitude journal. I read her book club selections and her magazine and although it’s been a long time since I watched the show every day, there was a time when I needed her. I needed the Oprah Winfrey Show to feel like I did when I watched it — inspired, understood, worthy.
Now, like she’s made it safe for all of us to do, the woman who has encouraged and supported multiple generations of women in their transformations, is herself transforming. With her network OWN still in its infancy, the Wall Street Journal reports that she will be launching an evening show, titled Oprah’s Next Chapter.
With an expected start date in late 2011, the hour-long series could air two to three times a week on OWN. Next Chapter will follow Winfrey as she takes her interview subjects across the globe to destinations like Egypt and China.
Until then though, it’s time to say goodbye and to say thank you for all the wonderful gifts the Oprah Winfrey Show has brought into my life. Thank you Oprah Winfrey for teaching me to be, in the words of Maya Angelou, “a woman phenomenally. Phenomenal woman, that’s me.”