A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that while many episodes of this extremely popular talk show are upbeat and light, some deal with very mature themes -- including sexual assault, domestic violence, and child molestation. Many of these stories are offered within a context of survival and enlightenment. Special-event episodes feature Oprah giving away lots of brand-name stuff, and it's a guarantee that if she likes something, it will sell like hotcakes. Many regular guests, like Dr. Phil McGraw, end up getting their own shows and/or publishing books. The language is pretty mild overall, but words like “hell” and “damn” are sometimes audible.
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What's the story?
THE OPRAH WINFREY SHOW is a syndicated daytime talk show hosted by media mogul Oprah Winfrey. Since 1986, the popular series has featured guests ranging from major pop culture icons like Michael Jackson and Madonna to authors, life coaches, therapists, and even past and future American presidents like Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. Regular guests -- including Dr. Phil McGraw, Dr. Mehmet Oz, and Winfrey's best friend, Gayle King -- also stop by frequently. The show addresses a wide array of topics, ranging from controversial current events to spirituality and self-improvement.
Is it any good?
The show, which is the longest running and highest rated syndicated talk show in American history, owes much of its longevity to Winfrey, who transformed the series from a tabloid-like talk show to one that tackles difficult and often controversial topics while still emphasizing positive thinking, self-reflection, and self-improvement. Winfrey’s willingness to share personal issues like her battles with weight, drugs, and childhood abuse have also made her appealing.
The show's success has led to the creation of a book club, a
nonprofit charitable organization, a talk radio channel, a magazine,
and a cable network, all bearing the name of its host. However, it has also created some controversy. Winfrey -- who is the first African-American nationally syndicated talk show host -- has been accused of turning her back on the African-American community. And her willingness to openly offer her opinions about specific issues has led to some legal battles. Despite all of this, Winfrey has managed to entertain and inspire audiences all over the world.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about why Oprah has been so successful over the years. What is it about her that makes her so popular? What does she do (or not do) that has set her and her show apart from the crowd?
What is the goal of a talk show? Do you think talk shows should be a forum for providing spiritual guidance and/or self-improvement advice? Why or why not?