*An extensive Q&A with Oprah Winfrey is featured in this Sunday’s Parade magazine, where the daytime queen discusses everything from her new cable venture to supporting Obama, to her thoughts on Sarah Palin –specifically whether or not the thought of a Palin presidency scares her.
“It does not scare me because I believe in the intelligence of the American public,” Oprah answered.
Read more excerpts from Oprah’s Parade’s cover story below.
On how thinking about Michael Jackson made her relax about taking a risk with the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN):
“I was moving forward–we were planning shows, doing deals, creating programming, signing up people. But still I would wake up clutching my chest, like, Omigod. When I looked at it in terms of the vastness of what needed to be accomplished I would start feeling overwhelmed by it.
And then I read this article about Michael Jackson in the July edition of Vanity Fair, and the author of that article spoke to his friends and said, ‘The mistake that Michael Jackson made is that he didn’t recognize that Thriller was a phenomenon and he spent the rest of his life trying to chase the phenomenon.’
“I went, That’s what I’ve been doing. I’ve been thinking that if I don’t match what I’ve already done then I’m a failure. And I thought, I don’t want to be Michael Jackson. This article specifically said that after Thriller, which sold over 100 million albums and is still the highest-selling album of all time, when he then did Bad, which sold 20 million albums, he felt like a failure. Anybody today would bow down in prayer for 20 million.
“I didn’t want to be that person who’s been given this great opportunity of a network and thinking, but how am I going to make it what the Oprah Show has been for 25 years? What I recognize is that it took me at least 10 solid years to build [that show].”
On being a “brand”:
“I hate the word brand, but now I have succumbed to the fact that I guess I am one.”
On being the subject of a reality show (on Season 25: Oprah Behind the Scenes, premiering on OWN January 1 at 8 p.m. ET/PT):
“What did I say yes to that for? You know what that’s taught me? All these people doing these reality shows–I don’t know why anybody wants to be followed by a television camera all the time. There was great discussion amongst my team as to how we would document this last year [of The Oprah Winfrey Show]. I said, ‘I think it should be a documentary.’
“But I saw a first cut last week that they’ve been working on since August. Didn’t like it. And I’m bringing the team in here today to say, ‘Ya’ll have got to get real and the whole thing has to be restructured.’ I don’t like trying to create tension where there isn’t any. I think that there is enough natural tension and anxiety and exasperation going on here all the time without having to create it. If I’m going to have a piece that is representing my life behind the scenes, it has to be truthful.”
On Sarah Palin:
“I don’t know her so I can’t speak to [whether or not she'll be a candidate]. But I would say that America’s going to fall in love with her from [her reality series, Sarah Palin's Alaska]. When I saw that first episode, I went, ‘Whoa! She is charming and very likable.’”
Asked whether the thought of Palin’s running for office scares her, Oprah said:
“It does not scare me because I believe in the intelligence of the American public.”