*For those who missed Oprah Winfrey’s first appearance on Bravo’s “Watch What Happens Live,” Deadline.com has posted the following blow-by-blow:
For days host Andy Cohen – a self-professed Oprah fanatic – had been teasing her appearance on his talk show. One reason Oprah has never done “Watch What Happens Live” until tonight is that Cohen’s all about subjecting guests to embarrassing games and girls-night-out drinks. (“I’m having a Fresca-quila. Do you want to taste it? I’m clean,” he asked her.) But Oprah seemed game for everything Andy had up his sleeve.
He asked her to screech his name in the way she used to do with guests on her syndicated talk show. She did that. [Watch below.] “I’m glad I brought two pairs of suit pants,” Cohen deadpanned.
He also asked her to slap him while reading the same line in “The Butler” that she’d delivered while slapping one of the actors. She did that, too – airslapping him to his extreme delight. (Watch below.)
Regarding “The Butler,” Cohen asked Winfrey whether her role was tougher than the one she played in Steven Spielberg’s “The Color Purple.” She said: “There’s no comparison. That was almost 27 years ago … and at the time nobody knew who I was. It was easier to be on screen. Nobody was saying, ‘Gee, that’s Oprah.’ This was harder this time for me, because I’ve worked 25 years and I am Oprah, and people see me as Oprah. So to do a movie and have people not see you as Oprah — that’s hard.”
When presented with a quote from her “Butler” co-star Terrence Howard (about doing a love scene with her “tig ol’ bitties”, Oprah chuckled, “It’s OK – because they really are big.”
A questioner on the phone asked if Winfrey had ever considered making a movie about her life. “Oh no. I would not consider a movie about my life. My life is basically boring,” she insisted. Yet moments before, she told Cohen about writing her autobiography, “I don’t want to name-drop here but Nelsen Mandela did say to me that he thought I should do it one day. … He said, ‘You should do it for your own record; you should get the record straight’.”
Cohen noted she’d never commented on that 2010 Kitty Kelly biography about her. ”No. And I still wont,” said Oprah, causing the temperature in the room to drop 10 degrees. “Great,” Cohen responded nervously.
She told Cohen that her biggest personal “aha” moment would have to be last year when she was “getting all the schadenfreude from the media cause OWN wasn’t where I wanted it to be at the time.”
Oprah acknowledged that the network’s programing and ratings struggles were humbling. “Nobody was more surprised than I was about that. You have to hunker down. There’s no such thing as failure: it’s God telling you to move in another direction… All these years I’ve been telling people to hang in there, to hold on to their dreams, be steadfast in their vision … and I went, ‘Oh, now I get to walk that walk, and not just talk it.’”
She claimed to Cohen that OWN is “on the rise and making money — and let me just tell you, it’s so much more fun to make money than to lose it.” Her boss, Discovery chief David Zaslav, said the same thing in late July: that OWN has become cash flow positive, meaning that it’s “starting to pay down the investment Discovery has made in the venture.”
As Deadline’s David Lieberman reported, Zaslav’s company attributes the financial growth to the higher fees that TV distributors pay for OWN vs. its predecessor Discovery Health. In addition, they say ad sales improved considerably with the addition of shows from Oprah pal Tyler Perry’s “Have And Have Nots” and “Love Thy Neighbor.” Zaslav says that OWN’s “positive cash flow generation should continue to increase” with new shows including Perry’s third series, “For Better Or For Worse” which makes its debut this fall.
Watch more highlights from Oprah’s appearance below.