Hi, need to submit a 500 words paper on the topic Oprah Winfrey Talk Show Furror. Oprah Winfrey Talk Show Furor Oprah Winfrey is perhaps the most celebrated television personality and a powerful black woman in the U.S. history. In the late 1960s, Phil Donahue pioneered the creation of contemporary daytime talk show. In 1980s, it was revolutionized by Oprah and then in 1990s, everyone from Ricki Lake to Jenny Jones was in it.
The shows have received criticism because of the culture’s indulgence in victimization and the general decline of civic discussion. It has been named by critics as human environment pollution and a case study of decay. The shows have been preoccupied with family dysfunction, sex and race.
The talk shows like any other new television genre were an assortment of old programming forms. many of them were aired at daytime. They were mostly geared towards women issues and their roots can be traced back to Arthur Godfrey and Art Linkletter.
The shows also reflected their times. Phil Donahue daytime talk show began at the inception of the women’s movement. He tackled women’s issues such as artificial insemination, sexism and homosexuality and was capable of breaking the barrier between the host and the audience.
However, his popularity dwindled when Oprah Winfrey began her show in 1983. Use of therapeutic sensibility gave her an advantage over Donahue. The style used by Oprah was unique. she focused on revealing problems, improvement of self-esteem, use of empathy as a cure and empowering women. She wept openly, hugged guests, and said goodbye to each of the member of the studio audience in person. She was able to walk in between the races (cultural bilingualism) thus she was capable of having a coalition of audiences.
Imitators of Oprah emerged as her success became evident and they employed similar skills as hers. even Donahue was tackling similar topics like Oprah’s. A survey done on the talk shows by Michigan State University Researchers revealed similar characteristics in all the talk shows.
There was a feeling of little attention and credit among the supporters of these shows for their contribution in neglected matters such as family dysfunction and race. The shows were characterized by traditional values and conventional view of morality. a show heavily influenced by empathy for victims.
Political influence in these shows cannot be ignored. Clinton appeared in Donahue in a talk-show presidency during the 1992 campaigns. a similar talk-show was done with H. Ross Perot and George Bush in the same year. The key point of these shows was to persuade the victims/audience to feel their pain as a means of empowering themselves and retaliate to those who looked powerful. This gave the political figures immense support from women.
In 1995, Oprah changed her topics and mix of guests in response to criticisms from Bennett and others. She moved from tabloid psychology to less-conventional topics such as anorexia and old age planning. a similar move was done by The Rosie O’Donnell Show. In the 1990s, the media took a step further to democratization due to the talk television (Stark).
Stark, S. D., “The Oprah Winfrey Show and the Talk-Show Furor.” n.d. Web. 24 Feb. 2011.