This is it. The end. 25 years of afternoon hugs and tears and laughs and freaking out end today when Oprah takes her final bow. I remember taping the show on my VCR every damn day in college and my roommates wondering if my Oprafatuation somehow was a sign that I was a closeted homosexual. B to the ingo!
I loved her when she was fat and thin and curly and straight and belted and blazer'd and blinged. I cried at episodes that had no relation to me. I analyzed her hugs and whether she was happy or sad or moody or PMS-y. I wondered about the people who worked for her and their ironclad confidentiality agreements. What secrets did they keep!? I wondered whether she was really as great as she appeared, and I decided that even if she was a cold-hearted snake (I don't think she is, by the way) then at least her mission was good.
I've met her several times over the years -- first when I was at CBS News and then most recently with Gayle King at a pre-Oscar thing. It was always fast and I didn't want to be "that guy" who started freaking out telling her how much I loved her. I was cool. She was cooler. She was Oprah, you know?
I feel bad for her staff. As hard as they worked, it's never going to be the same for them. No talk show on TV is staffed so heavily and paid so well. Nobody will ever dominate the nation's agenda like she did. Times have changed, the media is totally diced and sliced, and there's too much competition.
She is the end of an era in broadcasting. There will never be anybody like Oprah again.