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Posted at 10:05 PM ET, 01/ 6/2011

Oprah Winfrey holds TV critics hostage at Winter TV Press Tour 2011

By Lisa de Moraes

Just days after more than 2,000 red winged blackbirds all dropped dead in Arkansas, more than 200 journalists were simultaneously lobotomized by Oprah Winfrey at Winter TV Press Tour 2011.

Oprah talked and talked, and talked, and talked. And then, she talked some more. And some more. And some more. Nearly an hour of psycho-babble about the Oprah-ness of Oprah - the vessel from God who uses TV as a vehicle to better mankind but who does not allow TV to be on in her house.

"I don't know what to write! It's was too airy-fairy and there was no news!" one TV critic screeched when it was over.

About half way through the verbal siege, TV critics began to tweet to the outside world - cries for help from hostages in the ballroom at the Langham hotel in Pasadena.

*Piers Morgan bragging his 45 minute interview with Oprah turned to 2 hours is less impressive as we approach her monologue's 2-hour mark.

*The Giants should hire Oprah as offensive coordinator. With her in charge they could have run out the clock and beaten the Eagles!

*I will now read you a list of people who have watched OWN since Sunday. Aaron Aaronson....

*Day 2 of the inspirational Oprah filibuster. Anyone planning to order pizza?

Oprah, on the other hand, appeared oblivious of the panic that had taken hold in the room and was having a great time. She took a long - really long - trip down Memory Lane, retelling many oft told stories about herself: coming from "a town in Mississippi that people can't pronounce" and "growing up without a television and begging my grandmother for a television and she said no cause it was the devil's work."

She regaled critics with stories about her time at a TV station in Nashville. That was followed by stories about her time a TV station in Baltimore. And who can forget her time at a TV station in Chicago?

Now that she has her own network, Oprah Winfrey Network, she's doing a "new kind of television where people respond to the idea of something meaningful and positive in their lives" - not just feeding them "sweetness" but feeding them "Mind Food."

Oh, and did you know Gayle spent New Year's Eve at a party in Vegas instead of with Oprah getting ready to watch the launch of OWN the next morning? We do, having heard all about it. Seems Gayle phoned after OWN was on the air and said, "Oh my God! OWN has commercials! Not like I didn't think it was going to have commercials! But it has commercials!"

And Oprah was, like, "I was thinking the same thing- I didn't know I loved Febreze so much! I see every commercial and I think 'Thanks Chevrolet!'."

The new network launch has taught Oprah, she said, that "God can dream a bigger dream for you than you can dream for yourself," and she tries to "stay in that space."

"As you heard me say to Barbara Walters, my prayer is to 'Use me,' and I see myself as a messenger for the message that is greater than myself," Oprah said.

"And the message is: You can. You can. You can. And you can be. And you can grow. And it can get better," Oprah clarified.

"My goal in my lifetime is to really help people to understand we're all here as human being to evolve. The evolving of consciousness is what I'm all about. But I'm not telling people it's that.

"Every single one of us in this room has that... I was born to be who the Creator intended. You were born to fulfill the highest expression of that coming. So that is my goal as myself."

"I am very much aware that the energy that the television is transmitting all the time," Oprah said in one of the few newsworthy moments of her appearance. "Until now I never allowed it in my house, unless there was something specific I wanted to see. I don't want all that energy coming into my space."

Occasionally, she mentioned the network. "There are a few shows that even if [viewers] don't respond I'm going to keep them on cause I can - cause I like them, and in time it will grow on them," she said.

But wait -- there's more!

Oprah used to sign autographs for everyone in her audience -- two shows a day on taping days. That is, until one taping day when she had to go see her gynecologist - because it's the one thing she can't get somebody else to do for her, she explained - and she came back from the doctor's appointment with more energy for the second show than she'd ever had. Which taught her that she really did not like signing autographs for hundreds of people at a pop. So she stopped.

One critic finally asked her when did she fall in love with herself. "I am not in love with myself," Oprah answered, surprising many.

"I can see that in print and I cringe: 'Oprah fell in love with herself at the age of 49'," Oprah guffawed. If there had been an aisle, she would have rolled in it.

"I am not in love with myself at all. I am loving that I understand who I really am. I am not enamored or dazzled by the whole idea of fame. I think it's fun and certainly think it's more fun to have money than not. It's a really cool thing to be able to get what you want and all that... But who I really am is a woman on purpose...So I feel good that I'm at a time in life where I pay attention to my life experience because I recognize everything that has happened to me and is happening to you is teaching you more about yourself... to bring you to the best of yourself. What's where I am - loving the recognition of who I am...and I'm still evolving...I'm constantly working to grow myself forward and this is a pretty heady process."

By Lisa de Moraes  | January 6, 2011; 10:05 PM ET
Categories:  Winter TV Press Tour 2011  
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Why does Oprah make me think of PT Barnum? It's her money, but I much prefer the Bill Gates and Warren Buffet method of using wealth to promote good without really stroking their egos. Isn't OWN just a re-branding of Discovery Health? Maybe I am wrong about this, but I cannot imagine what it is like working for Oprah in a job like housekeeper or dresser.

Posted by: AlligatorArms | January 7, 2011 1:00 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: 1911a1 | January 7, 2011 6:01 AM | Report abuse

Thankfully, someone has pointed out the emperor has no clothes.

Posted by: jrobarts | January 7, 2011 9:53 AM | Report abuse

Yes yes Lisa we know for a long time now you have little good to say about Oprah. It must be awful having to cover her.

Posted by: sargon20 | January 7, 2011 10:27 AM | Report abuse

I feel sorry for her gynecologist.

Posted by: blackforestcherry | January 7, 2011 10:37 AM | Report abuse

Sounds dreadful. I would have developed a split personality and used my second self to endure the torture while my real self escaped. Who am I kidding? I would have excused myself to the ladies' room and never returned.

Posted by: forgetthis | January 7, 2011 10:52 AM | Report abuse

Why does Oprah make me think of PT Barnum? It's her money, but I much prefer the Bill Gates and Warren Buffet method of using wealth to promote good without really stroking their egos. Isn't OWN just a re-branding of Discovery Health? Maybe I am wrong about this, but I cannot imagine what it is like working for Oprah in a job like housekeeper or dresser.

Posted by: AlligatorArms | January 7, 2011 1:00 AM

I think much of the self-involvement and constant self-promotion comes from the fact that Oprah is the first black woman (and first woman) to ever have this kind of wealth, power and influence in human history. It's pretty heady stuff. Bill Gates and Warren Buffet can, consciously or unconsciously, think back to titans of industry and commerce like Rockefeller, Morgan, and Carnegie along with countless other white, mostly WASP men who have had their own self-made men stories and ruled this country since its inception. OF COURSE they're going to be comfortable and secure with their wealth and power and therefore be able to seem magnanimous and humble in public.

Where Oprah is going with her media empire and uncharted territory for women and people of color and everything she does sets an example for future girls and women to follow. It takes a pretty big ego and a lot of chutzpah to maintain and direct this and it doesn't happen by being a behind the scenes person. She basically sells her sincerity and personality and has tried to transform it into a larger self-improvement movement, with mixed results. However, the fact that she's doing this at all and at this ever expanding level considering where she came from must still be staggering to her. I predict future "Oprahs" and media queens who reach anywhere near her level of success will seem much less wide-eyed simply because after Oprah, who has broken so many glass ceilings, it will have been done before. Tyra will not have to spend two hours talking about herself to get her message out.

Posted by: nvamikeyo | January 7, 2011 10:53 AM | Report abuse

This woman can talk for hours and notsay a single thing.
She is a man basher who simply hates the way men behave.
I for one, am sick and tired of hearing and seeing this woman every day in the news and on tv.
She needs to go away permanently and never return.
She has made enough money off of the ignorant women who consider her a living god.

Posted by: JimW2 | January 7, 2011 12:00 PM | Report abuse

I have often wondered as I watched Oprsh's rocket-like advance in showbiz, whether her skin-color was more influential than her degree of talent. Her brief entrance into politics supporting Barack Obama made me wonder what her real motives are, and now as she enters her newest job, again I wonder.

Posted by: drzimmern1 | January 7, 2011 12:26 PM | Report abuse

Re:"This woman can talk for hours and not say a single thing" from JimW2.....reminds me of Sarah Palin!!!

Posted by: Nighthawk620 | January 7, 2011 12:43 PM | Report abuse

Oprah is the first powerful, wealthy woman in history? Umm... Helen of Troy, Cleopatra, Nefertiti... any of these names familiar? She is a talking head just like the rest of them. The goal of the show is to keep you watching and buying all the pretty things that are advertised.

Posted by: devoidapop | January 7, 2011 1:34 PM | Report abuse

The same people who say Oprah talks for an hour and not say anything are the same people who can watch reality shows for hours on end.

Most people hate on Oprah because she has a lot of money. It's funny how success of one person brings out the claws in others.

Go figure.

Posted by: syvetteavery | January 7, 2011 1:37 PM | Report abuse

OMG, what a hatchet job by this ?journalist.

Posted by: prisrob2003 | January 7, 2011 4:16 PM | Report abuse

What a hatchet job.

Posted by: prisrob2003 | January 7, 2011 4:17 PM | Report abuse

Just want to say that I find Lisa de Moraes hilarious. Really, the funniest writer I've read in some time AND completely on point. Great job.

Posted by: merrillwhitehead | January 7, 2011 9:06 PM | Report abuse

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