Oprah Winfrey has one less job these days.
The never-not-working television icon revealed in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter that she is no longer working at 60 Minutes, less than two years after making her debut on the program.
She said that her exit had been in the works for some time, before offering up a little bit more information about what led to her decision.
‘It was an interesting experience for me,’ explained Oprah.
‘I enjoyed working with the teams, and I’m probably going to work with some of the freelance people on my Apple stuff, but it was not the best format for me.’
When asked to elaborate on that comment, she replied: ‘How should I say this? Never a good thing when I have to practice saying my name and have to be told that I have too much emotion in my name.’
Don’t want no minute man: Oprah Winfrey told The Hollywood Reporter that she is no longer working on the CBS news magazine 60 Minutes
Thank you, next: ‘I’m probably going to work with some of the freelance people on my Apple stuff, but it was not the best format for me,’ said Oprah
Oprah said that her emotional name delivery became a real issue for producers at the news magazine.
‘I think I did seven takes on just my name because it was “too emotional.” I go, “Is the too much emotion in the ‘Oprah’ part or the ‘Winfrey’ part?,”‘ revealed Oprah.
I think I did seven takes on just my name because it was ‘too emotional.’ I go, ‘Is the too much emotion in the “Oprah” part or the ‘Winfrey’ part?’
-Oprah speaks about 60 Minutes
‘They would say, “All right, you need to flatten out your voice, there’s too much emotion in your voice.” So I was working on pulling myself down and flattening out my personality — which, for me, is actually not such a good thing.’
Oprah also said that she was working closely with a CBS employee who is about to enter contract negotiations with the network – her best friend Gayle King.
‘I said, “Get what you want. Get exactly what you want because now’s the time. And if you don’t get what you want, then make the next right move,”‘ shared Oprah.
She also said that King had already been in those negotiations before her sit-down with R Kelly.
Oprah, like most of America, said she was floored by her friend’s performance in that interview.
‘I sent her a text saying, “Jesus looooves you.” But [that interview] could not have been better if I had done that myself. I think every interviewer thinks, “What would you have done in that moment?” And what she did was absolute perfection,’ said Oprah.
‘I just thought that for this moment to happen at the time when she’s also in the middle of negotiations is unbelievable — but she’s always had that [gift]. One of my girls who is studying to be a journalist sent me a text saying, “Oh, Auntie Gayle, broadcasting goals.” And I said, “Not broadcasting goals, life goals. Your life goal [should be] to be able to be centered in the middle of whatever storm is showing up in your life.”‘
STARTED FROM THE BOTTOM
Oprah has certainly been forced to weather a number of storms, often times as the lone woman and lone person of color in any given room.
She discussed that in the interview, and said it was a situation she came to expect but worked to change.
‘Oh, for so many years, there wasn’t a brown person or another female in a 50-mile radius. I just sort of got used to it,’ said Oprah.
So that first year I gave everybody bonuses. I had a big dinner and my idea of being creative was to have $10,000 rolled up in toilet paper rolls at the dinner as gifts because I couldn’t get management to pay them.
-Oprah on paying employees after show went national
‘It’s hard to be heard when there’s only one. I remember my friends would say — actually, people in college who were not my friends — would say, “Oh, you’re a token,” and I’d say, “Yes, but I’m a paid token and I’m going to use it.”
‘It actually strengthened my resolve. Any time I’ve been in a situation where I felt marginalized or someone else was marginalized, I’ve used that information as what not to do.’
She then told a story about her attempt to get her staff raises the year that her talk show went national.
‘They said, direct quote, “Why do they need more money? They’re a bunch of girls.” I said, “Well, it’s a bunch of girls who are now doing a national show.” And they said, “They’re in the same room, with the same desks, and the same office, on the same street. They don’t need any more money,” recalled Oprah.
Rather than accept that, Oprah decided that she would find a way to reward her employees.
‘So that first year I gave everybody bonuses. I had a big dinner and my idea of being creative was to have $10,000 rolled up in toilet paper rolls at the dinner as gifts because I couldn’t get management to pay them,’ revealed Oprah.
‘Then I went to management and said, “If you don’t pay them, I’m not going to work.” By the next year, it was like, “I’m not going to keep paying them. I shouldn’t have to pay everybody out of my salary.” That informed me that if I ever get my own business, I’m going to pay people well.’
In the beginning: Oprah got her start doing local news in Baltimore (above) before making the jump to the Chicago market
DOING DA’ BUTT
Oprah also spoke about eh upcoming Democratic primary, but revealed she had yet to settle on a candidate.
There is one person running however whom has clearly managed to peak Oprah’s interest.
‘Right now, I’m studying the field. I’m reading Shortest Way Home by [Pete Buttigieg]. I call him Buttabeep, Buttaboop,’ said Oprah.
‘The name’s either going to really hurt or [really help] — I think it’s going to help, actually.’
Just the other day, I was at Apple with Spielberg and we were in the hallway talking about, ‘What are we going to do?’ And I said, ‘Have you heard of this Butta guy?’ He goes, ‘No, Butta-who?’ ‘I go, Buttabeep, Buttaboop. Look him up.’
She then backed up that claim by sharing a story in which she named-dropped one of the greatest American film directors of all time.
Just the other day, I was at Apple with Spielberg and we were in the hallway talking about, “What are we going to do?” And I said, “Have you heard of this Butta guy?” He goes, “No, Butta-who?”‘ shared Oprah.
‘I go, “Buttabeep, Buttaboop. Look him up.”‘
Oprah is not a big fan however of his campaign trail nickname, Mayor Pete, explaining: ‘I like Butta.’
He is not the only candidate she is considering either, and the host again shot down those rumors that she was planning to run in the 20202 election.
‘I have Kamala’s book. I just got the Vanity Fair piece on Beto . I’d done some research background stuff on him before,’ said Oprah.
‘I already know Cory. So I’m quietly figuring out where I’m going to use my voice in support.’
But if she could interview just one person in the world right now, Oprah makes it clear that one candidate rises above the rest.
‘Right now, I’d probably want to sit down and talk to Butta,’ says Oprah.
‘I’d like to see what’s up with Butta.’
TAKE A SEAT
Oprah spoke about her deal with Apple as well, and said that she will once again be doing the sit-downs that made her famous.
‘I don’t want to be in a daily rhythm of trying to come up with people to interview, but when there are people who are of the culture — like, last year, I would’ve wanted to sit down and have a conversation with Christine Blasey Ford,’ said Oprah.
I don’t want to be in a daily rhythm of trying to come up with people to interview, but when there are people who are of the culture — like, last year, I would’ve wanted to sit down and have a conversation with Christine Blasey Ford
-Oprah on her plans for Apple
She also stated that he tone would be no different than it has been since the early days of Harpo.
‘My mission is always about letting other people know, “You’re not alone,”‘ stated Oprah.
‘Obviously, we’re going to do the women in Hollywood and in the music business, but what was important to me was to be inclusive of waitresses and factory workers and nurses and nuns and people who you’d never imagine, so that the world can see themselves in their stories.
‘I’ve been adamant that if you only tell the Hollywood story, you can only be partially heard.’
She does want to tell the stories of thousands on Californians whose lives were chaged by fire and flooding last year.
‘Having experienced such devastation in our own community in Santa Barbara and recognizing what happens once the news cameras go away — we were on the news for a couple of days, but people would come to my house and go, “Oh my God, this is going on?”‘ said Oprah.
‘Yes, we lost 21 people, and two are still missing. I was cleaning out 154 trucks of mud months later from my backyard. And so … I think a lot about the people of Paradise .
‘Really, I wake up in the morning and think about those people. I want to talk to them. I want to see how they are and remind people that the rebuilding of a life takes time.’
Oprah revealed that she approached HBO about her special After Neverland, saying she felt compelled to get involved after seeing the documentary, but has come to question her decision in recent weeks.
‘It wasn’t really regret, it was just … actually, I was having dinner with friends and they were saying, “We saw you were in that.” Like, “Why did you do that?”‘ said Oprah.
The N-word, ‘Go back to Africa,’ slut, hoes. … It became racist and homophobic and vile and ‘String ya up,’ ‘It’s against the Lord.’ I mean, you name it,’ sasid Oprah. ‘Similar to the Michael Jackson thing. I happened to be on Twitter for something, and somebody had said, ‘Oprah Winfrey is a disgrace to the race’ or something. Yeah, the whole race. I decided, you know what? This isn’t going to be healthy for me, so I just didn’t engage with it.
-Oprah on the attacks that came her way after her Michael Jackson special and guest role on Ellen
‘This is what happened. I saw it, and I was shaken by it. I wasn’t even shaken by the fact that it was Michael Jackson, I was shaken by the fact that [director] Dan Reed had done a really good job of showing the pattern, and for years, I had been trying to show people the pattern. I’d been trying to say it’s not about the moment, it’s about the seduction.’
She then approached the president at the time to ask what he planned on doing with the documentary before offering her services.
The response was surprising, even to her said Oprah.
‘Oh, the hateration? Honeeey, I haven’t had that much hateration since The Puppy Episode with Ellen , and it made me think, “Thank goodness Ellen’s coming out was before social media because can you imagine?” said Oprah.
‘During The Puppy Episode, I had to take the people who were on my switchboard at Harpo off the switchboard because of the vitriol. They were scared.’
When asked about what the people were saying then, and now, Oprah fired off a few of the slurs that had been leveled at her by anonymous callers and later anonymous social media users.
‘The N-word, “Go back to Africa,” slut, hoes. … It became racist and homophobic and vile and “String ya up,” “It’s against the Lord.” I mean, you name it,’ sasid Oprah.
‘Similar to the Michael Jackson thing. I happened to be on Twitter for something, and somebody had said, “Oprah Winfrey is a disgrace to the race” or something. Yeah, the whole race.
‘I decided, you know what? This isn’t going to be healthy for me, so I just didn’t engage with it.’
BARACK AND BILL
Oprah also spoke at length about two famous friends, one of whom she still remains close to and the other she has distanced herself from over the past decade.
She said that she spoke with Barack and Michelle Obama after they signed heir deal with Netflix to offer up some helpful advice.
‘Oh, they can do any damn thing they want,’ Oprah says of the couple.
Then as proof she confirmed this by revealing the former president was brave enough to ignore her advice.
‘When they were starting, he called me for names to run, and I offered him some. They ultimately were not the people he chose, but that’s fine,’ said Oprah.
I remember I had seen Camille Cosby at Teterboro when I was chartering a plane and trying to justify it. Someone said, ‘Oh, Mrs. Cosby is over there, would you like to say hello?’ So I get on Mrs. Cosby’s plane and Mrs. Cosby is on the plane with a pair of overalls and diamond stud earrings and she’s on her way somewhere to work on her doctorate and I said, ‘Where is everybody?’ And she said, ‘There’s only me.’ I said, ‘You’re going to use this whole plane?’ And she said, ‘I’m worth it.’ Just like that. And I went, ‘Well, if she’s worth it, maybe I’m worth it.’
-Oprah’s run-in with Camille Cosby
‘There’s nobody like them. Nobody. Their desire to want to use this medium to tell stories, to show us our history, to bring an informational, inspirational approach to content — I’m looking forward to seeing whatever that’s going to be. ‘
There is also no one like Camille and Bill Cosby.
Oprah said she had a chance encounter with Camille after buying her first plane that helped her move past the extravagant purchase.
And it was Bill who initially made her realize she would always feel some sense of guilt for owning the aircraft.
‘I was trying to justify it, like, “OK, if I put 10 people on the plane, that would’ve been how many airfares would I have to pay for?”‘ recalled Oprah.
‘And he said, “You’ll never be able to justify it because it’s a true luxury. You can make a decision that you’re going to take the leap and do it or not, but you’ll never be able to justify the expense.” Which is true.’
That was not Camille’s take.
‘I remember I had seen Camille Cosby at Teterboro when I was chartering a plane and trying to justify it,’ said Camille.
‘Someone said, “Oh, Mrs. Cosby is over there, would you like to say hello?” So I get on Mrs. Cosby’s plane and Mrs. Cosby is on the plane with a pair of overalls and diamond stud earrings and she’s on her way somewhere to work on her doctorate and I said, “Where is everybody?”
‘And she said, “There’s only me.” I said, “You’re going to use this whole plane?” And she said, “I’m worth it.” Just like that. And I went, “Well, if she’s worth it, maybe I’m worth it.”