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Oprah and the show: The secrets

2011-01-25 14:16
So... Oprah Winfrey has revealed that she has a secret half-sister called Patricia.  Of course Oprah didn't make this revelation on The Jerry Springer Show, but on her own, with Patricia and her mom both there with her.

There are some other secrets about Oprah Winfrey you probably don't know yet. With the 25th and final season of The Oprah Winfrey Show currently airing in America and starting on 8 February on SABC3, Oprah has opened the doors of her Harpo studios for reality cameras currently documenting the unbelievable things that go on at the production company and behind the hit talk show.

Thinus Ferreira has viewed everything so far of the new mesmerising reality show entitled Season 25: Oprah Behind the Scenes, which gives an incredible, uncensored look at the private world of The Oprah Winfrey Show. Here are seven things you didn't know about Oprah. 

1.The girls from the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in Henley-on-Klip are well travelled.
When Oprah Winfrey goes over her diary, interesting little titbits are revealed. Very recently, during an incredibly crazy time for Oprah, she made time for her 26 school girls from South Africa. They visited Oprah Winfrey and get this: they stayed in her Chicago high rise! They all had a pajama party right in her real home. And then Oprah put them on a bus and they all went to Disneyland. Of course - none of them will ever talk about it.

2. Oprah's life and diary are much busier than you would imagine.
Oprah's life is beyond hectic. In fact, a point recently arose where Oprah couldn't cope anymore. She's at Harpo studios before anyone else in the morning and the last to leave late at night. She calls in her executive producer Sheri Selata. ''You and I are not going to survive if we continue at this pace,'' says Oprah. ''I'm not gonna make it. I don't even know what number [of episode] we are. This is only our third week in. I started counting. I've lost count. I've got to let something go. This is a slippery slope we're going down.''
Sheri Salata says that doing ''six to seven Oprah shows a week is an overwhelming tidal wave of work that's required. I honestly do not know how Oprah does it because that is stamina that's not human.''

3. Oprah gets upset with her staff. And her staff members don't think she's a queen.
Viewers see the friendly Oprah but behind the scenes where things are often very tense, Oprah speaks her mind, demands loyalty and quality and insists that things are done correctly. There's pressure, there's constant panic. When her staff doesn't perform or do what she wants, she tells them. In turn, the Harpo staff members are quite used to Oprah. They challenge her, they correct her, they don't back down from their views on things. They often tell her they need more time to get things done. ''Oprah doesn't know what she wants,'' says Lisa Morin, one of the senior supervising producers, in a moment of exasperation. ''You never know with Oprah.''

During a pitch meeting where they have to come up with ideas of shows to do, we the audience are not told what exactly the one particular heinous idea was, but Oprah explodes. ''I know that if I allow that on my platform, that it is coming back to me in direct proportion to the number of people who see it and feel it… and I don't want that &$@* in my life!'' During an interview on location Oprah's mic isn't on but the producer doesn't tell her immediately. Then he does… after three minutes of lost time and conversation and the mic gets replaced. ''Don't let me go three minutes again,'' says Oprah with a look that would have anyone running for the Harpo hills.

4. Not everybody wants to be on Oprah.
''Most surprising is that everyone doesn't say yes,'' says Cindy Mori, director of booking and talent relations at The Oprah Show. ''What people often think is that it's easy to book for The Oprah Show because it’s the Oprah Show, but sometimes people that you might think would say yes, end up saying no.'' Oprah doesn't let it bother her, saying ''My rule is I never want anybody to be here unless they really want to be here. So by the time they say yes, it’s a full yes.''

5. Oprah and Gayle are ''Caryn'' and ''Sally''.
When the producers recently went on location they used the names ''Caryn'' and ''Sally'' for Oprah and Gayle. They talk in code so that the people they're dealing with remain unaware of the high profile people who will be visiting. That is for in case those people can't keep a secret, tell others, who then tell others and then you sit with a crowd problem of curious onlookers when Oprah arrives at a place. It happened recently when Oprah and Gayle arrived at Yosemite National Park to surprise a game ranger who wrote Oprah a letter.

6. Oprah is actually getting tired.
''I cannot keep up the pace that I've kept up for 25 years and continue to do it well,'' says a very frank Oprah Winfrey. ''I cannot keep raising the bar and have any kind of life whatsoever. And it is the reason why I'm bringing it to an end.''

7. Power trips. Big ego. Drama. But it's not Oprah.
There's often chaos behind the scenes of The Oprah Winfrey Show. Some guests initially agree to come on the show and then start to make demands after a while. Once the interview has been secured, they sometimes don't want Oprah to ask certain questions. One celebrity (okay, it was Liza Minelli) demanded a star on her door (and she got it). Some guests are late (sometimes the staff don’t tell Oprah), some stars want to sing other songs than the ones requested, they want to sing longer and do different things. But the show has to fit in what the producers need to accomplish on time, so it's a fine dalliance between producers and the talent to get them to do what they've been requested to do, but for everyone to still be happy at the end of the day. ''Oprah does want to give her audience what they're looking for,'' says Bridgette Theriault, co-producer at The Oprah Winfrey Show.

The 25th season of The Oprah Winfrey Show starts on SABC3 on 8 February.

Seven things you probably didn't know about what life is like for Oprah and her crew.
Read more on:    oprah winfrey  |  tv  |  celebrities

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