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Making Oprah: how one woman changed the face of daytime TV

This engrossing three-part podcast, with contributions from Oprah herself, runs from the start of her own show 30 years ago to her current brand of magic

Imagine a time when Oprah had to spell out her name. Or even use her surname. It is 30 years since the debut of The Oprah Winfrey Show, and an engrossing new podcast from WBEZ Chicago tracks how she changed the face of daytime TV. Making Oprah (iTunes) has contributions from the woman herself, as well as people who worked with her. In one early audition tape, she spells out her name, and there are tales of pre-big-break times when her co-host would tap her on the leg when she was allowed to speak.

But when US TV network ABC was searching for a rival for The Phil Donahue Show, general manager Dennis Swanson hired her for what would eventually become The Oprah Winfrey Show. He had to break the then controversial news to his bosses that he had signed up a black woman. “She became a billionaire and I got promoted, so it worked out good for both of us,” he says.

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