Your 15 Minutes

21 01 2013
Salvatore Vuono /

Salvatore Vuono /

Let’s be honest: enthusiasm for Oprah began to flag once she put herself out there to make Barack Obama our first “black” President. “A surprise: Oprah pays a real price for supporting Barack Obama” and “Oprah’s ex-fans trash her support of Obama over a woman“.

According to Ed Klein’s book, The Amateur, Obama, and specifically Michelle, have kicked her to the curb. “EXCLUSIVE: Jealous Michelle Obama’s ‘rage’ led to Oprah being shoved aside…” Oprah’s noticeable absence during the 2012 elections appears to give validity to this.

So Oprah has OWN (the Oprah Winfrey Network), whose claim to fame is boring interviews with people who only interest The O herself, Lisa Ling’s Our America which is mostly fully of freaks, weirdos, and anti-Christian idiots, and reruns of past Oprah episodes.  Baby, the thrill is gone.

Now Oprah is seeking to regain her former luster with a Lance Armstrong confessional interview. But the Kansas City Star rightly surmises that this interview is less about Lance, and more about Oprah:

“The person to gain the most from this interview is not Lance Armstrong but Oprah Winfrey,” said Robert Thompson, professor of television and popular culture at Syracuse University in New York.

“Those who counted Winfrey out, even predicted the demise of her empire, likely spoke too soon, Thompson said.

“That the OWN cable channel hasn’t taken off in two year’s time is no surprise, he said. Even though everything Winfrey touches is supposed to turn to gold, cable stations can take several years to gel, he said.

“But its fortunes indeed need pumping up, Thompson said, and this event is exactly the vehicle to do it. Sports doping is huge news, and Armstrong is one of the biggest interview catches in years.

‘This is what it takes to get a cable channel going,” he said. “And it sends the message that Oprah is still relevant.'” “Oprah Winfrey, America’s confessor, is back in the spotlight“.

Ummm, not so fast. This “coup” is overshadowed by the Oxygen network’s (an earlier Oprah offshoot) greenlighting production on All My Babies’ Mamas, starring marginal rapper Shawnty Lo, and his 11 kids by 10 different mothers. The show’s concept makes Honey Boo Boo look like a “normal” reality show–if such a thing exists.

Outcry from black leaders, protests, and a petition with 40,000 signatures appears to have tanked this sorry effort, and rightly so. There is enough on the news and music videos that place a glaring spotlight on the immoral and unsavory aspects of Black culture; do we really need a reality show to reinforce this? “Sources: Oxygen to cancel new show ‘All My Babies’ Mamas, starring Shawnty Lo

We will see what the ratings bring from the Lance Armstrong interview, but I’m sensing a collective yawn on all my fronts. It doesn’t take much to knock someone out of pop culture consciousness–such is the brutality of a perpetually wired society.

Robert Thompson, professor of television and popular culture at Syracuse University is betting Oprah could have a comeback, but my gut says the party is over.

Who will tell Oprah that her 15 minutes are up?



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