Oprah Scare: Breast Cancer, OWN Ratings Cause Stress For Talk Show Host
Oprah's had many scares recently - some health-related, some financial. But one of the most surprising pieces of news is that she didn't even tell her best friend, Gayle King, that she had a breast cancer scare.
Winfrey announced the news at a recent conference, with King in the audience. Everyone was so shocked that one conference attendee criticized the former talk show host for not telling her best friend sooner. "When Ms. King grew visibly upset, one woman chided Ms. Winfrey for not telling her friend ahead of time and ordered her to apologize to Ms. King," The New York Times reported today. And this was "all before an audience."
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Winfrey has suffered from many weight-related health issues. "My body was turning on me. First hyperthyroidism, which sped up my metabolism and left me unable to sleep for days." she wrote in 2007. "Then hypothyroidism, which slowed down my metabolism and made me want to sleep all the time."
But she's always been very upfront about her issues. Now at 58, without her 25-year talk show, stresses seem to be taking a toll on her. The cable network OWN, which she started with Discovery Communications, was plagued early on by delays, executive turnover and ratings slumps. And although the network now seems to be on its way back with high numbers in September, The New York Times reported today that Winfrey is still very much feeling the heat, in part because her magazine O is hemorrhaging money.
"Ultimately, you have to make money because you are a business. I let other people worry about that. I worry about the message," she said. "I am always, always, always about holding true to the vision and the message, and when you are true to that, then people respond."
Will she shutter the magazine's doors if it continues to flounder? "Obviously, the show was helping in ways that you know I hadn't accounted for," Winfrey said. "I'm not interested, you know, in bleeding money."
Any which way executives are determined to make a success of OWN. "We are poised for some tremendous growth from a business and ratings point of view," co-president Erik Logan said in March. "We're much more confident that [they're] more on-brand than they were last summer."
Nevertheless, the expectations for Winfrey have been huge. With an estimated net worth of $2.7 billion, Winfrey could easily retire, focusing on charity work, like some other media moguls have in the past. But let's be honest; that's not exactly Oprah Winfrey's style.
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