The new queen of talk is...

2009-12-01 12:52

The Queen

The Oprah Winfrey Show

Format: Interviews with celebrities and everyday people with themes ranging from real life situations to pop culture and politics.
Human factor: Who needs soap operas when you've got Oprah? She has a troubled past, came from nothing to being a billionaire and she is always giving of her wealth to others (especially publicly). Even with all the money in the world she still struggles with her weight, has self-esteem issues and stress and is a sucker for self help scams.

Fear Factor: If Oprah didn’t like you, you were screwed. Her opinion affected everything from the price of beef, to book sales, to who became president of the USA.

Philanthropy: She started the celebrity dog craze, she made Sophie famous way before Paris Hilton came along with Tinkerbell. Oh and she has raised millions for charity, built a girl’s schools, etc, etc. 

Best moment: Tom Cruise jumping on the couch proclaiming his love for his new girlfriend at the time, Katie Holmes.

The Contenders

The Tyra Banks Show

Format: Leggy, big busted, supermodel turned TV host Tyra Banks in a Oprah meets Jerry Springer kind of show.

Human factor: She always strives to be relatable and “keep it real”. She's like the goody-goody best friend that is sweet but talks too much. Why does she even bother with guests? No matter what the topic is, she always finds a way to hog the spotlight (I guess it’s a supermodel thing).

Fear Factor: Watching Miss Banks’ show take itself too seriously. A sonogram to prove your breasts are real. Who is she trying to kid walking around like she is discussing matters of national security?

Philanthropic Factor: She started National Real Hair Day. A day where all black women could be free from the bondage of weaves. She popularised the word "fierce" way before Beyoncé came out with Sasha Fierce and she runs the TZONE foundation.

Verdict? Alas, she did win the two Daytime Emmy Awards for most informative show and Oprah’s show had a similar format in its early days so hopefully over time The Tyra Banks Show will evolve.

Best moment: Tyra in a swimming costume saying "kiss my ass" and crying in response to the media calling her fat.

The View
Format: A panel of women including Whoopi Goldberg; Joy Behar; Elisabeth Hasselbeck; Sherri Shepherd and sometimes the show’s creator and executive producer Barbara Walters, discusses current issues and news items ranging from social and political issues to tabloid headlines and celebrity news. 

Human Factor: The panel is representative of women of all ages, from different backgrounds and offers viewers clashing opinions that make it distinctive.

Fear Factor: Two words: Whoopi Goldberg.  'Nuff said.

Verdict: We have a saying in Xhosa culture: “There can only be one bull in the kraal”.  There are just too many queens in this castle to crown one.

Best moment: Former co-host Rosie O’Donell arguing with Elizabeth Hasselbeck accusing her of not defending her in the backlash of an anti-Iraq war statement made by O’Donell.

The Ellen Degeneres Show
Format: Comedian/actress Ellen DeGeneres hosts a show that features interviews with celebrities, music performances, games with audience members and her own comedic monologues.

Human factor: Degeneres is funny and likeable and she has a laid back approach. Everybody loves Ellen.

Fear Factor: With 29 Daytime Emmy Awards and a new bestie in Oprah (since the 'cover'), this funny girl is a powerful woman who won't be messed with. 

Philanthropic Factor: She brings laughter into the homes of millions of people everyday. God bless her!

Verdict: She is a middle aged gay comedian and she still managed to have a top-rated daytime talk show in the US.  That takes major talent.

Best moment: Ellen hiding out in the bathroom of a fake dressing room to scare Taylor Swift. Taylor falls to the floor in fright...priceless.

3 Talk with Noeleen
Format:  Radio journalist turned TV host Noeleen Maholwana Sanqu interviews experts and sometimes celebrities on the topic of the day. Topics include blah blah blah and more blah blah.

Human Factor: She is a mother and she appears warm and sincere. She also came from humble beginnings which makes her easier to relate to.

Fear Factor: Mama Sanqu looks like she probably grounds her crew if they give her lip.

Philanthropic Factor: Giving millions of South Africans a reason to watch Oprah instead.

Verdict: The set-up of the show is very impersonal and some of the topics can be tedious, making the show unbearable at times.

Best moment: Noeleen asking from the Black Eyed Peas, “Why do you call yourself What does mean?”... Eish!

Late Night with Kgomotso
Format: The now defunct SABC 2 late night show was hosted by media entrepreneur Kgomotso Matsunyane featuring comedy monologue, a live band and celebrity guests.

Human Factor: Matsunyane has an energetic and bubbly personality and she has a good sense of humour.

Fear Factor: Watching someone laugh out loudly at their own jokes especially when other people aren’t laughing is just cringe-worthy.

Philanthropic Factor: Well the philanthropy is not actually by her, it is by the SABC for cutting the show and sparing us all her annoying giggle.

Verdict? Having a sense of humour doesn’t necessarily mean you’re funny. Some jokes work when you’re sharing them with your colleagues around the water cooler but in front of cameras and an audience, you need a background in comedy.

Best moment: Former Miss South Africa Cindy Nell teaching an afro-soul singer how to do the pageant wave.

What ultimately made Oprah a phenomenon is that she touched people’s lives. She was more than just the queen of talk shows; she was also the uncrowned queen of the US. The only person with enough power, poise, and crossover appeal to rival Oprah and whose every move directly influences millions of women around the world is... Michelle Obama. She may not have her own talk show but when you have cameras following your every move, even your daily life becomes entertainment.

Many have come, tried and failed (yes you Ricki Lake, Rosie O’Donnell) but The Oprah Winfrey Show reigns supreme. Take a look at how other shows compare and who is likely to take over from O. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

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