The Oprah Winfrey Show has finally come to a close. Rather than be sad I present to you 6 captivating personalities that could fill that vacuum.
Can you use more Chris Rock in your life? Sure you can. Hilarious and insightful, he should be available in prescription strength. Oprah knows this better than anyone; outside of her expert franchise no other man has appeared as much as Rock. Headlining his own show has been tried before. After three seasons it was cancelled, but not before locking down an Emmy. He kept it moving and eleven years on, as he works through his first Broadway role, the press tells us he’s matured. Cool, let’s pass him the mic.
In a field that lends itself to duplicity, one thing that fans have come to expect from Oprah is honesty. This is not about telling one’s secret — for that’s an industry unto itself these days – but about years of building trust. As much as you can tell about the inner qualities of a person known only through music and interviews, Jill Scott too appears the trustworthy sort. She radiates positivity and goodwill, virtues hard to fake, even for an actress. If she were to take up the interviewer’s chair there’s no doubt guests would respond to that.
A big part of Oprah’s magnetism is that she’s her own woman. There’s no one in the background pulling her strings. Whoopi is still on payroll, but is there any doubt that she plays by her own rules? You can just imagine how many times she’s been told to sex up her image or tamp down her criticism of powerful people. With her smoker’s voice she seemed an odd choice for a morning program, but she’s done good holding down her piece of real estate on The View. And she’s funny. Surely America could use more of this.
Some of Oprah’s best work has come from addressing current events. She’s used her platform to put a face on issues like AIDS and racism, opening a space for genuine understanding. At home in print, television, and radio, Farai Chideya, also directs us toward issues that truly matter. She’s done work for ABC News, CNN and, for a time, hosted a show on Oxygen Network. Her best work was on display as the host of NPR’s News and Notes, a daily program she headed.
Whereas Oprah’s career can be understood as a meditation on the emotional, Stephanie Elam’s focus has been economic. One of the most personable correspondents on CNN, she’s followed the money trail all over the country, covering everything from the bailout to turf battles between food trucks and restaurants. Her start was unglamorous enough – copyediting for Dow Jones Newswires – but in time she made it on camera, doing stints on PBS’s Nightly Business Report and Black Enterprise Report.
Oprah got her start in local news. So too Michaela Pereira, doing beat reporting for a news station in British Columbia. In 1998 she moved to California where an interest in technology won her a regular spot on “Ebert & the Movies”, followed by the top seat of a highly-rated cable program, “TechLive”. Since 2004 she’s been LA’s wake-up call, co-anchoring KTLA 5 Morning News. Though local, her work has garnered national attention, most notably, five Emmys. She has a natural grace and warmth that shines on camera – on par with Lady O herself.
And why not, our very own Fumni Iyanda can hold down America if she decides to move over. She is Intelligent, Witty and Smart. My apologies, I have always been a Funmi Iyanda groupie.