Oprah Winfrey - The Queen Of TV

Known by some as the Queen of TV, Oprah Winfrey has become the first female African American billionaire. She has had many accomplishments in life including starting her own production company, starting a Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa, and receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2013. Though she grew up with less-than-ideal conditions, she powered through and is now a household name. By going through her childhood education, career, and the history of Harpo Productions, this is the story of Oprah Winfrey.

Oprah Winfrey was born on January 29th, 1954 to her unmarried parents who soon separated and had Oprah be raised by her maternal grandmother on a farm in Mississippi. Showing great intelligence growing up, her grandmother had taught her to read and write by age two and skipped both kindergarten and second grade. She also first learned a love for acting by “play acting” in front of farm animals. When Oprah Winfrey turned six, she was able to join her mother and half-brothers in a ghetto in Milwaukee. However, this neighborhood was extremely dangerous, and her mother didn’t have much money to support them with. This was part of the reason she was then sent to live with her father in Nashville at age twelve. Her father’s home was more comfortable and safer for Oprah and she learned that she had a love for speaking, and even one time got paid five hundred dollars for a speech. Life was going fairly good for Oprah until she was sent back to her mother’s house where her life started to get worse. All her problems also included sexual abuse that started at age nine and having a baby that died at age fourteen. Luckily thought, she was able to return to her father’s home during her later teenage years. She has later said that her father saved her life. Her father was strict and kept her on the right track. Oprah became a great student. Some of the things she was involved in include drama club, debate club, and the student council. During her senior year she won a full scholarship to Tennesse State University and studied Performing Arts and Speech Communications. While a sophomore in college, Oprah Winfrey started her career.

After winning Miss Tennesse during her freshman year and reading afternoon newscasts for a local radio station, Nashville Columbia Broadcasting System offered Oprah a job, which she had turned down. However, an influential Speech teacher reminded her that this type of job offer was the reason people go to college. She eventually accepted the job and became Nashville’s first African American female co-anchor of the evening news. A year after she graduated, in 1976, Oprah moved to Baltimore and started hosting the talk show, People are Talking. The show became popular, but after eight years, a Chicago TV station asked Oprah to host her own show, A.M. Chicago. Oprah brought this show from last in the ratings, to the most popular show on the network. By 1986 Oprah had started her newest project, The Oprah Winfrey Show. The show grossed $125 million by the end of its first season and Oprah made $30 million. In that same year Oprah started her own production company.

In 1984, Oprah Winfrey met with Jeff Jacobs, her new attorney to help her set up her contract for A.M. Chicago. Jeff Jacobs took this one step further by making an agreement with ABC to give Oprah more stakes in the show and then they changed the name to The Oprah Winfrey Show. Two years later in 1986, Oprah and Jeff set up Harpo Productions, which was Oprah spelled backwards. This is when Jeff Jacobs decided to get Harpo Productions the production rights of Oprah’s tv show. He succeeded and him and Oprah then bought a studio in Chicago to start production. Oprah eventually sought out more tv and movie work after appearing in The Color Purple. This inspired her to have Harpo Productions’ next big project to be The Women of Brewster Place in 1989 which Oprah stared in. The success of this movie eventually led to a series, called Brewster Place, which was produced by Harpo Productions. Harpo Productions is known for avoiding “magazine headline” topics and the book clubs hosted on The Oprah Winfrey Show. The success of her production company eventually led to other business opportunities, including an Oprah Magazine. The Oprah Winfrey Show went on for twenty-five years and ended in 2011 when Oprah wanted to move on. However, Harpo Productions is still going strong today.

After overcoming a lot of grief in life, Oprah Winfrey was able to find a path to success by paving her own way into the production world. She used her previous experience to create Harpo Productions, which is still thriving today. Oprah Winfrey has become a hero to many and is one of the most influential entrepreneurs today.

07 July 2022
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