Oprah Winfrey on Anderson Cooper: 'He will not be the next Oprah.'

Cooper-OprahImage Credit: Bryan Bedder/Getty Images; Lisa Maree Williams/GetOprah Winfrey held her first press conference today in Pasadena, CA. to help launch OWN, her fledgling cable network that her executives say is already ranked No. 17 in prime time and No. 24 overall among women 25-54. Unfortunately for the critics who packed the hotel ballroom, Winfrey took only five questions, because she spent most of the time talking about her childhood, what inspires her, and whether she’s in love with herself (more on that later). 

Her most compelling quote came at the end of the press conference, when someone asked her to comment on Anderson Cooper’s planned syndicated talk show for the fall and whether he has the potential to become the next Oprah.

“No,” Winfrey said unequivocally. “Will he be the next Anderson Cooper? Yes. This whole idea… it was like me [being asked], ‘Are you going to be the next Phil Donahue?’ I created my own way. I’m a fan of [Cooper's]. Obviously, he’s very talented. It would be interesting to see who does watch him, and what [he'll] do that’s different. And I will be rooting for him. He will not, definitively, will not — what I know for sure — he will not be the next Oprah.”

Beyond that, the woman introduced as the “curator, chairman and inspiration who puts the OW in OWN” appeared to filibuster the press conference with tales of her upbringing and fears about starting a network. Though she did make a quip about being “thrown to the wolves,” those wolves, i.e. critics, barely got a chance to get in a word in edgewise. And when they did, Winfrey asked that they stand. (Though she made a joke of it, the journalists did oblige.)

“This has been a revelatory week for me,” Winfrey said. “It was not actually until we were on the air that we fully started to grasp what it means to have a network where you are the OW of OWN.”

Here are a few more quotes from her appearance:

• “Gayle [King] called me from Vegas after we went on air and said ‘Oh my God, OWN has commercials!  You have commercials like a real network.’ I didn’t know I loved Febreze so much.”
• “I fully understand this platform I’ve been given is a gift.”
• “I was afraid at first. I had much trepidation doing this.”
• “I believe in the end it’s gonna work. I believed that even if it didn’t work, it was worth the risk. My fear is that people will tire of the repetitions [of programming]. I just said that to the OWN team today, we need to say that before they tell us.”
• “I’m grateful we weren’t embarrassed. I’m grateful people came.”
• “I think we will be more than all right. That’s a different way at looking at the business. You serve them and they will come. They will start to feel the difference.”

Someone did get the chance to ask Winfrey whether she was in love with herself — something the Queen of Daytime addressed oh-so-carefully. “I can just see it in print, Oprah fell in love with herself at the age of 49! I am not in love with myself at all,” she said, laughing. “I am loving that I understand who I really am. I am not enamored or dazzled by this fame.”

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  • Fex

    She’s always doing something to keep the economy going. Other rich women just sit around painting their toes all day, but opah is a woman of action. She makes me want to contribute more. I like this lady.

    • Bizarro Superman

      oF cOuRsE sHe WaSn’T tHe NeXt PhIl DoNaHuE, sHe JuSt StOlE hIs FoRmAt AnD fIgUrEd A wAy To GeT rIcH oFf Of It!

    • BruceMpls

      A problem I have with your comments is that you make it sound like Oprah herself pays for her “give-a-ways”. Whether it’s the cars, thousands of dollars worth of merchandise for a Season Holidays program or just someone’s latest cd, Oprah and her company don’t pay a dime. It’s all given to them by the manufacturers to promote their products. Granted, it takes someone of Oprah’s stature in the entertainment business to get company’s to donate, but I think you have Oprah on too high a pedestal because the bottom line is that in the end, it’s all about the money. Don’t get me wrong, I like Oprah but first and foremost, she is a business woman.

      • Fizzy

        Of course she’s a business woman! Whats you’re point? Are you saying that business people can’t be philanthropists and still be business smart? I doubt Bill Gates and his wife pay for everything they spread around either but I think you’d be foolish to believe that they don’t (including Lady O) happily donate plenty of their own money to worthy causes. And how many people do you think it takes to create Oprah’s favorite things? All those cars, electronics, people handling the affairs for the trip to Oz??? Jobs my dear, these gifts thats she’s extracted from companies create jobs not only to create all she gives away but the advertising while giving causes people to buy more of these products. Why else do you think the companies do this?? O is a business woman alright but she’s also a compassionate, giving person, someone we should all strive to be like.

      • BruceMpls

        Fizzy, I’ll address just the main issue I was referring to in my comment and your reply about Oprah’s favorite things. In answer to your question:”And how many people do you think it takes to create Oprah’s favorite things?” Answer: Not one more person than the companies already have working. Oprah’s show seats, what? 250, maybe 300 people? That few a number would not make a dent in the supply/stock of a manufacturer whether it’s a car, cd or whatever. ie Toyota sold over 8 million cars last year. Do you not think they already had 300 extra cars sitting at some plant? Same with cd’s that are made in the tens of thousands and much more depending upon the artist. 200-300 cd’s probably only cost the company $1.00 or so each to make. There are of course exceptions and that would be any small company that Oprah used which could have an impact on their future sales.

      • thin

        CDs from a large production run, cases and all, cost significantly less than $1.00 each to product. Put your estimate at something in the neighborhood of 10¢, and you’ll be a lot closer to the mark.

      • thin

        Ugh. *to produce, not product.

    • Paul

      Oprah is an egotistical, meglomaniac useless woman. She has money yet does noting for the people. Her sponsers give away cars, yay right? Not when you have to pay a few thousand for the car tax in a declining economy. Alright a trip to Australia (where the dollar is very weak) so good luck buying souveniers oh yeah and hopefully you have the cash for the passport. This woman does not care about anyone but herself. She (but not she because she would never use her own money) gives things to make herself look good. You know who is a good person? People that give to St. Jude’s MDA foundations or other charities. A man gives you fifty dollars is he a great man. For those that think yes lets also throw in the fact that this guy beats and rapes but its ok cause he gives someone something. You idiots can be bought and sold for an Ipod.

  • E.

    OMG, the reporter who asked the question will be out a job in six months, mark my word.

  • ashley

    I hope to god he isn’t the next Oprah…she’d have him taken out like *that*

  • daduded

    Of course he wont be.
    He is not fat, black, a racist, or a horn blower that doesnt do his homework.
    Of course he wont be Oprah.

    • Maureen

      Wow.

    • UGH

      Took the words right out of most bright American’s mouths. It’s too bad that we’re in the minority.

      • gurrl

        Ugh….You give real Americans a bad image.

    • Donald

      Oprah is not a racist. When will people get this through their thick skulls? I think a lot of people like to cry racism when an African American gets famous, mostly due to fear and intimidation.

    • now voyager

      How in God’s name can anyone seriously believe that Oprah is a racist? She’s done way more for whites than she’s done for black people. How many whites has she promoted? Dr. Phil, Suze Orman, Laura Berman, Dr. Oz, Rachael Ray, Nate Berkus all have shows on her network. How many white authors has she featured in her book club vs. black? Is it because she backed Barack Obama instead of Hillary Clinton who inlisted her husband and Geraldine Ferraro to badmouth black people because she couldn’t afford to do it herself? Judging from your post, I bet all the people you back are white, so does that make you a racist?

      • CMD

        Here Here @now voyager. The only reason people think Oprah is a racist is because she backed Obama. Get it through your thick skulls, 95% of black people backed Obama, why because like every other culture in America we back our own. Not all the time, no one really supported Al Sharpton, but when somone is making a difference and doing somthing new, yes we support them. Its why you see only Chinese people working in a Chinese owned 7-11, or why the deli only has Pakistani workers. Because people support there own cultures. If we don’t who will? Certainly not people like @UGH, who are so blinded their own small views they can’t recognize the simple facts of reality in America.

      • me

        Oprah: “What do I care about what some white folks think?”

        ^^^ The above was her dismissive reply in a sarcastic tone given in an interview in which she was asked about the “controversy” of her building her leadership school in South Africa instead of here in America, to benefit our children.

        Interesting sidenote…this remark was delivered in her ethnic “sista” voice, not her polished, controlled voice reserved for her t.v. audience.

    • Sammy Shawn

      Your a pathetic loser dude seriously.

    • LIZZY

      Any one with a brain will agree with you! You’re right on!!!

    • gurrl

      Hater

  • star

    I have always liked Anderson. I wish him the best with his show.

  • Marcus

    No, Anderson Cooper isn’t black…he’s gay, which is the hip minority of the 21st century.

    • Mom in the Suburbs

      Interesting comment. A light is being directed at the persecution of gays (esp. gay teens) at the moment. Outrage at the senseless suicides of gay youth is very much in the news now. This is the “hip” minority? Just my opinion, but being gay is not hip enough for my taste yet.

      • Jaded

        Excellent response, Mom! I wholeheartedly agree.

  • Ghanagirl

    I appreciate that Ms. Rice hasn’t fallen head over heels in love with Oprah and can give some honest reporting. I am tired of O’s continual grandstanding and attention grabbing personally. She wearies me.

    • Tom

      She wearies me too, and scares me. People are such followers of her.

      • CMD

        Who should we be following? Who out there is a positive female role model, who came from a small town in Mississippi to becoming a Billionaire and one of the most influential people in this male dominated world. Her story is Amazing and inspirational. And if you, are really from Ghana and a woman, you should be honored and uplifted by a strong black woman doing her thing all over the world.

      • June Singer

        Perhaps if you avoided reading and commenting on articles about Oprah you would be less wearied.

      • @June Singer

        I don’t think it was reading the article that made her weary. Additionally, the whole idea that if you don’t like something you shouldn’t read about/comment on it is ridiculous in this case. Comments should be for discourse not “I’m a fan so I can speak but you can’t”. Grow up.

        CMD – Who are you to tell people who they should look up to? Why is it that a woman from Ghana should be “honored and uplifted” by Oprah? Someone doesn’t have to be poor from a small town and become a billionaire to be worthy of inspiration and leadership. Oprah would be the first to tell you that. Guess what, there are *ordinary* people doing *extraordinary* things every day ALL OVER THE WORLD even in each of our own communities. You don’t have to sit and watch TV to see someone inspirational.

        I’m not knocking Oprah just the asinine comments in her “defense.”

    • gurrl

      Thats right… SOme no brainer fallow Sarah Palin and George Bush. Go Figure, At least follow someone with a braih, Intelligence

      • leapinleopard

        wonder why many folks refer to her as ‘OKRA” ??? here,have some more corn bread.
        Of course she is in love with herself, a huge ego is de rigeur for a media spotlight such as the one she wields. On herself.

  • Chris

    Next “Oprah” in regard to reaching a similar demographic. Oprah was able to reach a lot women of all ages which is great for advertisers. Thus she made a lot of people money. Will Anderson Cooper do this? No.

    • Cboy

      Can you get a lot of women of all ages to watch the same channel all day long 24/7?….no

      FAIL!!!

      • June Singer

        To the illogical person who responded to my post, what I said was that if someone is wearied by Oprah Winfrey then reading and commenting on articles about O.W. will not make one less weary of O.W. Pretty simple really.

  • AP

    I admire Anderson Cooper. Didn’t he have a tough road to overcome early on?
    Anyway, his orientation shouldn’t be anybody’s business but his own.
    Same with Oprah!

    • MsSuniDaze

      ‘Tough Road’? He’s a Vanderbilt, but humble enough you would never know it. I love Anderson Cooper.

      • .

        You mention him being a Vanderbilt. What does money have to do with having a tough road or not? You say you love him, but if you really did, you would know his background, or be aware that money doesn’t buy happiness.

      • MsSuniDaze

        I never implied having money didn’t mean not having a tough road in life. I was comparing his childhood background with Oprah. His family not only had money they were a legacy, he went to Yale, could have anything he wanted…but I never said it made him happy. His brother committed suicide. Money doesn’t mean happiness. I would never make a comment on someone’s past unless I actually knew it. His childhood is actually very tragic, but because of his money he was able to find his course in life and became an advocate helping those who had no voice. Just like Oprah is able to do with her money. It’s actually pretty inspirational. I find it fascinating that A.C came from such wealth and you would never know it. He could have easily turned into another Paris Hilton. That is why I love and admire him.

      • Mimi G

        Cooper did have a tough road, but not in terms of money. His father and brother both committed suicide. Some actual grown-ups think that this qualifies as a “tough road”. Money isn’t everything.

      • Polly Esther Sheets

        And he was on Channel One.

      • LIZZY

        Just because you have money doesn’t mean you couldn’t of had a tough life.

  • Matthew Laos

    We are in an era of increased celebrity leaders. While celebrity can offer someone greater opportunities and talents, one must ultimately lead and demonstrate the tenets of leadership: Vision, Responsibility, Trust and Communications. Oprah’s new foray is directly a result of her leadership skills building to date. Another example of a celebrity leader now is George Clooney who works assiduosuly on efforts to minimize the violence in the SUDAN. Ultimately, all their successes and failures will be a factor of their leadership skills, as celebrity status only gets them an opportunity and leadership is a must. I would encourage them to study leadership sites like Leadership Now on the internet in order to grasp the realities faced by their leader peers who will be watching and learning, as they test the trials and tribulations of leadership. They follow in the footsteps of: Ronald Reagen (SAG, Governor of California and POTUS), Audrey Hepburn (UNICEF), Danny Thomas (St Jude), and Lucille Ball (DESILU productions) to name a few. Probably the father of it all, Benjamin Franklin.

    • Chicago Sherri

      Reagan was a crazy old man. Don’t compare him to UNICEF and St. Jude.

      • June Singer

        That’s just cruel to say, Reagan was not crazy. He had alzheimer’s disease, a dibilitating affliction that impaired his brain greatly starting in the late 1960’s and grew worse throughout the remainder of his life. Why do you think he called his wife “Mommy” and relied on astrologists consultations to run the country in the 80’s?

    • yeahright

      You just said a lot of NOTHING.

    • Brett

      Reagan did more for this country than anyone who ever came out of Chicago ever did or ever will.

      • June Singer

        Addle-brained Reagan, the only President born and raised in Illinois.

      • @Brett
  • Jan

    She’s a Barbra Streisand-level person and exerts a Barbra Streisand-level of control. In general that bothers people more than when a rich, famous, talented man does it.

    • Too Funny!

      LOL!!! Thanks for the laugh! Streisand-level person! Who on earth is Babs? A has been, with an attitude a normal person wouldn’t put up with, and a basic singer, who could never compete in this day and age. The fact that you equate Oprah and Barbara S. is no surprise, their fans have similar qualities. Again, thanks for the laugh, wow. And how foolish of you to think it’s because of them being women…stereotype much? Jeez.

      • Jaded

        LMAO! A Streisand-level person???

      • Get Real

        So you’ve proven you know zip about singing. If that’s the best you’ve got, too bad.

      • June Singer

        Agreed that Babs could not compete in this day and age because no popular music involves any singing talent. Rapping and autotune microphones and hillbilly drones do not count as singing.

    • truth

      right because men don’t get bashed for being in control etc. I hate Ole

      • truth

        to finish. I hate ole Rupert M of Fox/New York post etc but give me a break he faces even more bashing for his over lord control of his fixed news empire. She is where she is in part because she is a female. Enough with the crap about how bad women have it in America we don’t! simply fact. Copper if he is gay is far more likely to be held back by that fact in this country thansks to women and their view of gay men than she was or is.

      • Dash

        What are you trying to say that women have a negative view of gay men? How about we all stop sterotyping all toghether. I really hate it when someone accuses a group that I belong to of something. Generalizations are what is bringing this country down.

      • rokstar92

        isnt it the other way around. Women are more likely to support a homosexual lifetstyle over men. I have no facts or statistics to back this just life experience as an out gay man.

  • Tangela

    I’m actually running a campaign to be the next Oprah. You can find my video on You Tube tangelaekhoff.

  • Dean

    Oprah is a smart talented women, no doubt about that. The thing many see in her is her arrogance.With that kind of money she probably just falls into the class with many other rich fatcats. I personally don’t care for her programs much, but one can’t argue with her success.

  • Marty

    Good luck Oprah. Whatever you touch turns to gold, not to mention your graciousness to give others an opportunity to shine. Those that criticize are jealous.

    • Baron

      Well said! Oprah embodies achievement on the basis of intelligence and hard work. Others can argue on her persona but her accomplishments are indisputable.

  • M A Janssen

    Perhaps Oprah is getting weary but it is undeniable that the likes of her & Barbra are not women you would see today. They made their way thru the top with blood, sweat & tears. These days all you have to do is flash yourself at the cameras & you have a career. You stay in the news for as long as you want (i.e. Paris Hilton) just by doing stupid things over & over again & the media will feed your antics. Yes, Oprah & Barbra may be tedious but there will be one day when we are so overfed by the reality tv culture that we will yearn for the days when these women ruled the airwaves. They represent a time when women still had class (& I am a woman so I know). Safe to say, those days are gone.

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