As the producers of The Oprah Winfrey Show gear up for the tearful finale on May 25, they look back at some of their favorite moments from the show.
The June issue of O, The Oprah Winfrey Magazine, celebrates the last 25 years of The Oprah Winfrey Show by focusing on seven producers who have worked behind the scenes to make the show great.
The producers were given makeovers, including hair by celebrity stylist Ken Paves and makeup by Jeannia Robinette, and are featured in the new O (check out a sneak peek here).
The producers also were given the chance to reflect and look back at some their favorite moments from The Oprah Winfrey Show.
- Andrea Wishom, Supervising Producer: “I’ve made a lot of memories in my 17 years here.” Andrea anticipated that the most important two hours she produced would be the surprise special that taped on Tuesday, May 17.
- Tara Denise, Production Designer-Lighting Director: “I’ve gotten to do so many really big, exciting things. In 2008, I arranged for us to have a 22,000-gallon tank of water for David Blain to hold his breath in for 17 minutes.”
- Jill Van Lokeren, Senior Supervising Producer: “As we wind down, I don’t feel sadness — only pride that I was a part of something so incredible for 15 years.”
- Jakki Taylor Richardson, Senior Associate Producer/Booking: “One of the first shows I worked on was Oprah’s 50th birthday, when Gayle King and John Travolta surprised her with a party. Every part of the production was huge. I remember being up in an edit bay at 2 a.m. before running across the street to check on the 400-pound cake and thinking, “‘Wow. I’ve really stepped into something big here.'”
- Sally Lou Loveman, Senior Audience Producer: “When you work here, exciting things happen all the time. That’s the Oprah drug. But I’ve definitely had a few bloopers. Once, when Kenny Rogers was on, I finished the audience warm-up by shouting, ‘Kenny Loggins is here!’ Another time, I invited people on stage to dance before the show, and one guy went into a disco move and accidentally smacked me in the face. That was a big, beefy hand. I was seeing stars.”
- Cindy Mori, Director of Booking: “Those shows (in reference to the After-Oscar Party episodes) often came together at three or four in the morning, because we never knew ahead of time who would win. In 2009, when Sean Penn got Best Actor, I snagged him as he was walking off the stage — ‘Will you join us tomorrow to celebrate on the Oprah show? I have a photo in my office of me accosting him that night.”
- Candi Carter, Senior Producer: “My favorite shoot of all time was Oprah and Jay-Z in Brooklyn, when they visited his old neighborhood. We sat in the basement of his grandmother’s former house, on lawn chairs — just Jay, Oprah, Gayle, me, an assistant and two camera guys — and although it was hot as the dickens in there, it was so intimate. Oprah spoke to him for two hours, and I could see out the window as a crowd gathered. When we left, the whole street was filled with people.”
Tell us: What is your favorite Oprah show moment?
Also check out: Oprah by the numbers: Cool stats from the 25 years >>>