Oprah Gail Winfrey is an American entrepreneur, TV show host, actress, producer, and philanthropist. She has served as the Chairman of her cable network, OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network, taking on the role of Chief Executive Officer in July 2011. Ms. Winfrey is the only female Black American billionaire with an estimated net worth of $2.6 billion as of August 2021.
She's the first black woman to own and run a television network, OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network. Launched on January 1, 2011.
The Oprah Winfrey Show was the highest-rated TV talk show in history, seen in 110 countries and was internationally syndicated from 1986 to 2011. The series finale of The Oprah Winfrey Show aired on May 25, 2011.
Ms. Winfrey bought a 10% stake in WW International, Inc., formerly Weight Watchers International, Inc., for a reported $34 million. She also became its spokesperson and joined its board of directors.
In April 2000, Oprah and Hearst Magazines introduced O, The Oprah Magazine, a monthly magazine that has become one of today's leading women's lifestyle publications. It is credited as being the most successful magazine launch in recent history and currently has an audience of more than two million readers each month.
Oprah is co-founder of Oxygen Media, which was formed in November 1998 along with fellow founders Geraldine Laybourne, Marcy Carsey, Tom Werner, Caryn Mandabach. Oxygen Media includes the Oxygen Network, a women's cable network that launched on February 2, 2000. On November 20, 2007, NBCUniversal purchased Oxygen for $925 million.
Ms. Winfrey founded Harpo, Inc. in 1986, under which she has launched numerous media and entertainment businesses. Through Harpo Films, Oprah has a long-term deal with the ABC Television Network to produce Oprah Winfrey Presents telefilms. Harpo Productions also owns and produces the daily syndicated series, Dr. Phil, featuring life strategist Dr. Phil McGraw, Ph.D., who appeared as a regular guest on The Oprah Winfrey Show from 1998 through 2002. Harpo Productions also produces The Rachael Ray Show.
Board and Advisor Roles
- Ms. Winfrey has been a director of WW International, Inc., formerly Weight Watchers International, Inc., since October 2015.
- She also has been serving as a member of the Smithsonian's advisory council since 2004.
- She serves on the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture Museum Council.
In recognition of her extraordinary achievements and contributions, Oprah has received numerous honours, including the most prestigious awards and highest industry acknowledgements.
- 2011: National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences' Crystal Pillar Award, Time Magazine's 100 Most Influential People in the World. She is the only person to have been included in all eight of TIME'S 100 Most Influential People in World lists, from 2004-2011.
- 2010: The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts' Kennedy Center Honors.
- The Women's Conference (California) Minerva Award.
- 2007: The Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity's 2007 Humanitarian Award.
- 2006: The New York Public Library's Library Lion 2006.
- 2005: National Civil Rights Museum's 2005 National Freedom Award, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People's Hall of Fame, International Academy of Television Arts & Sciences' 2005 International Emmy Founders Award.
- 2004: United Nations Association of the United States of America's Global Humanitarian Action Award. National Association of Broadcasters' Distinguished Service Award.
- 2003: Association of American Publishers AAP Honors Award.
- 2002: 54th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards' Bob Hope Humanitarian Award, Broadcasting & Cable Hall of Fame.
- 2000: She was awarded the Spingarn Medal from the NAACP.
- 1999: National Book Foundation's 50th Anniversary Gold Medal.
- 1998: National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences' Lifetime Achievement Award. The following year, after accepting this pinnacle honor, Oprah removed herself from future Emmy's consideration and the show followed suit in 2000. Oprah and The Oprah Winfrey Show received more than 40 Daytime Emmy Awards: seven for Outstanding Host; nine for Outstanding Talk Show; more than 20 in the Creative Arts categories; and one for Oprah's work as supervising producer of the ABC After School Special Shades of a Single Protein. Time Magazine's 100 Most Influential People of the 20th Century.
- 1997: Newsweek's Most Important Person in Books and Media, TV Guide's Television Performer of the Year.
- 1996: International Radio & Television Society Foundation's Gold Medal Award, George Foster Peabody Awards' 1995 Individual Achievement Award.
Philanthropy, Community Service and Memberships
- Ms. Winfrey was the largest private donor to The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture which opened in 2016.
- In 1997 Ms. Winfrey founded Oprah's Angel Network to inspire people to make a difference in the lives of others.
- In 1987 she created The Oprah Winfrey Foundation "to support the education and empowerment of women, children, and families in the United States and around the world."
Ms. Winfrey studied Speech Communications and Performing Arts at Tennessee State University. She left school in 1975 one credit short of graduating to enter the workforce but in 1987 she completed the last required course and received her degree.