Is Oprah losing her touch?

The New York Times has an interesting article about Oprah Winfrey and the decline in her popularity.

A Few Tremors in Oprahland
By EDWARD WYATT

LOS ANGELES — Oprah Winfrey is still the queen of all media, but her crown is beginning to look a bit tarnished.

The average audience for “The Oprah Winfrey Show” has fallen nearly 7 percent this year, according to Nielsen Media Research — its third straight year of decline. “Oprah’s Big Give,” an ABC philanthropic reality show, beat every program on television except “American Idol” in its premiere week this winter, but steadily lost nearly one-third of its audience during the rest of its eight-week run, according to Nielsen.

The circulation of O, The Oprah Magazine, has fallen by more than 10 percent in the last three years, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations, and the magazine is now seeking a new editor in chief after the announced retirement of its longtime steward, Amy Gross.

And while Ms. Winfrey still displays a Midas touch when it comes to the endorsement of books and products, some of her latest picks have attracted criticism from longtime fans as she has strayed into new-age spiritualism and, perhaps more dangerously, politics. Her endorsement of the presidential bid of Senator Barack Obama appears to have alienated some of the middle-aged white women who make up the bulk of her television audience, many of whom support Senator Hillary Clinton.

“Not too long ago, she was like the pope,” rarely criticized by her ardent supporters, said Janice Peck, an associate professor of mass communication at the University of Colorado and the author of “The Age of Oprah,” a new book on Ms. Winfrey’s cultural influence.

Since the endorsement, however, angry criticism of her political stance became a regular feature of the message boards on Oprah.com, Ms. Peck said. “There are a lot of her fans who are not Democrats or who support Hillary Clinton who feel betrayed,” she added.

I read and blogged about the anger towards Oprah after she endorsed Senator Barack Obama. Some of her white female fans were livid. Some of that anger is still on display on the Oprah.com message boards. Check out the various threads under Local & World News.


I’ve been a long time viewer of The Oprah Winfrey Show. I remember when Oprah was on Baltimore’s WJZ and she also co-hosted the tv talk show People Are Talking with Richard Sher. I subscribe to her magazine O, The Oprah Magazine. I record her show on my dvr everyday but I don’t watch every show. There are some shows with certain topics that I’m just not interested in. She does bug the hell out of me when she interrupts her guest and doesn’t let them finish a sentence. Yes the ratings for her show are declining but ratings for alot shows are going down as well. I doubt if it’s the end of the world for Ms. Winfrey. I’m looking forward to the start of her new network, OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network. I hope it’s interesting and not filled with reality shows.

One response

  1. This is a “c’est la vie” moment. We can’t expect Oprah, or anyone, to maintain the same level of popularity in our fickle society. She’s debuted nationally the year I was born. Granted, I’m young but 21/22 years in showbiz is a looooooooong career.

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