In the Middle East, courtesy of MBC, Oprah's much hyped show finale was aired yesterday, Saturday 28 May 2011, capping 25 years of the most popular talk show in America. Twenty-five years dedication to the job, and she has 'not called in a sick day', she reminds us since the show's first airing, September 8, 1986. Yesterday, 4,561 episodes later, the Middle East tuned in to a lady they'd mostly, with typical Arab hospitality, welcomed into their living rooms since the show aired on MBC 6 years ago.
Many of us can admit to having aunts, mothers, and sisters, who occasionally indulged in some Oprah time, and spent week night evenings with her. However she leaves behind some mixed feelings, in this region, and the distinct impression that her Mideast themed shows, on an otherwise customised show for American audiences, was poorly researched. Given that she was always preaching, never more so than in the final episode that 'All life is energy and we are responsible for the energy we bring', many regional viewers only wished this high-powered and highly influential pubic figure had been more responsible for the energy and more specifically the content, aired on her Women-Around- the -World series. The prevailing attitude in recent years was that since MBC had brought the show to us here, "she might have tried opening her mind up more to our part of the wrold"- A line you'd expect to hear from Oprah herself, the Queen of opening your mind.
Although she has personally never been to the Middle East, even interviewing one Arab guest on Skype, she has, over the years, tackled issues that affect people in the region. She has interviewed royalty and Arab celebrities and women from the region and spurred debates about domestic violence, women's rights and the rights of sexual minorities.
As predicted she did touch on her own life journey in the show finale, reminding herself as much as her fans, that her life had been nothing short of inspirational: From an abused child coming from an impoverished background to one of the world's most powerful women many times over: "As a young woman ready to embark on a career, my options back then seemed to fall between being a maid or teacher in a segregated school, and here I am."
Where next? Yesterday’s show tried to break the parting softly leaving us with a contact detail as parting gambit,. Ladies and Gentlemen, (Sayadaati wa Saadati) the most popular Woman left us with an email address- firstname.lastname@example.org - and the knowledge that this was not farewell but more ‘until we meet again’. Well, we already know that her next chapter is mapped out for her, on her own channel The Oprah Winfrey Network or OWN. So fans who relied on this Oprah life-line will not be cut off their female life-support-channel just yet.
Here are her Most Memorable Mideastern Moments