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Oprah's 'Farewell Spectacular': Tom Hanks, Maria Shriver, Michael Jordan, and Aretha Franklin say goodbye, and we were there!

After 25 seasons, Oprah Winfrey taped the third- and second-to-last episodes of her iconic talk show in Chicago’s United Center Tuesday night, with 20,000 guests watching — including EW. The episodes, entitled “Surprise Oprah! A Farewell Spectacular,” will air May 23 and 24, but why wait? We live-blogged the entire epic event, including surprise guests — Michael Jordan! Aretha Franklin! Maria Shriver! — and guest performances from Beyoncé, Rascal Flatts, Stevie Wonder and Alicia Keys. Check out our full tick-tock of all the highlights below, and then come back tomorrow morning for our recap of the blessed event. (All times are Central Daylight.) READ FULL STORY

Oprah's 'Farewell Spectacular' taping tonight. We're blogging it!

UPDATE: Our live-blog is LIVE!

Tonight, a lucky few thousand fans in Chicago will welcome Opraaahhhhhhhh… for (almost) the last time. The talk show host — who will end her talk show after 25 seasons on May 25 — is taping two shows titled “Surprise Oprah! A Farewell Spectacular,” which will air May 23 and 24 and are set to feature some of Hollywood’s biggest stars. As for who they might be? Well, that secret is being kept under lock and key — but EW will be at Chicago’s United Center tonight alongside 20,000 guests for the big reveal. So, for fans both curious and prepared to be jealous (imagine the favorite things Oprah could hand out!), head back to EW.com tonight to read our live account of what’s going down during the “Farewell Spectacular.” So exciting, the audience will stomp and cheer! See you tonight!

UPDATE: Our live-blog is LIVE!

Read more:
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Oprah Winfrey on OWN: 'It's not where I want it to be' -- EXCLUSIVE

The good news: Oprah Behind the Scenes on OWN is exactly what it set out to be — an unfailingly honest and entertaining look at the making of The Oprah Show as it winds down its historic 25-year run in syndication. Now, the bad news: It can’t turn the fledgling network into an overnight success (the network just tossed out its CEO, Christina Norman). EW sat down with Winfrey at Harpo’s headquarters in Chicago, Ill., to talk about Behind the Scenes, how she comes across in the show, and whether she has any regrets about launching OWN while still doing her talk show. READ FULL STORY

Oprah Winfrey Network replaces CEO

The Oprah Winfrey Network announced today that Peter Liguori has been named interim Chief Executive Officer of the network, replacing Christina Norman, who helped to launch the cabler in January. Liguori will oversee the struggling network while continuing to serve as chief operating officer for Discovery Communications.

The shakeup comes at a time when the fledging cabler is struggling to find an audience. Since its launch, the network has only averaged 283,000 viewers in prime time. Not suprisingly, one of the most watched shows on OWN is Oprah Behind the Scenes, which lures 382,000 viewers.

The network has more original programming rolling out in the next year, including the October debut of Rosie O’Donnell’s new talk show Rosie and the launch of Oprah’s Next Chapter in 2012.

Before joining Discovery in 2009, Liguori was the president of entertainment for Fox.

'Oprah' team announces plans for final episodes

The third- and second-to-last installments of The Oprah Winfrey Show will tape at Chicago’s United Center on May 17 to accommodate “the biggest names in movie, music and TV,” Harpo Prods. announced today. Even Oprah Winfrey doesn’t know who will attend “Surprise Oprah! A Farewell Spectacular” that’s been in the works for weeks at Harpo.

“As most of our viewers know, being surprised is not one of Oprah’s favorite things,” said Sheri Salata, executive producer, in a statement. “In the spirit of our farewell season, she is making a rare exception and we intend to make the most of the opportunity. It will be something to see!”

The two-parter will air May 23 and May 24. The final episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show will air May 25.

Oprah Winfrey on why OWN can't pick up canceled ABC soaps -- VIDEO

Warning, Erica Kane fans: This isn’t good news. In the midst of shooting the final season of The Oprah Winfrey Show, launching a cable network, publishing a magazine, and taping an addictive little reality show called Season 25: Behind the Scenes, the Queen of Daytime took the time to address desperate fans of All My Children and One Life to Life about why she can’t air the canceled soaps on OWN. She doesn’t say anything that we don’t already know — there’s no money in programming daytime sudsers anymore, kids! — but it’s pretty dang cool of La Winfrey to give it some attention. If only she had better news for you lovers of Llanview.

AMC will end in September, followed by OLTL in January 2012, to make way for the unscripted shows The Chew and The Revolution.

You can check out Winfrey’s video below: READ FULL STORY

Oprah's OWN announces six new shows

Oprah Winfrey’s cable network OWN is announcing six new shows to advertisers at its first upfront presentation. The network has struggled to gain ratings traction since it launched in January, though the channel is renewing four of its programs. The new titles, along with official descriptions: READ FULL STORY

President Obama to appear on a final 'Oprah' episode

This should make for a good episode of Behind the Scenes on OWN: Harpo Prods. has confirmed that President Obama will appear in one of the final episodes of The Oprah Winfrey Show.

He’ll tape his episode with the Queen of Daytime at Harpo Studios on April 27;  it’ll air May 2. The First Lady is also expected to make an appearance.

Winfrey’s final talk show will air on May 25.

Oprah finale ad rates higher than 'Lost' closer

Oprah Winfrey’s syndicated program might air in daytime, but it’s hitting up advertisers for major-league primetime ad rates for its final episode.

The asking price for a 30-second ad on Oprah’s May 25 finale is $1 million, according to Horizon Media researcher Brad Adgate. That’s more than last year’s finales of ABC’s Lost ($900,000) and Fox’s 24 ($650,000), despite Oprah having a smaller audience (about 7 million viewers) than either of those dramas. Oprah’s distributor had no comment. READ FULL STORY

David Arquette will appear on 'Oprah' instead of Michael Vick

David-ArquetteImage Credit: Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic.comOn Feb. 24, Oprah‘s audience will have to Scream for David Arquette instead of Michael Vick. Harpo has confirmed to EW that an interview with the actor will air on Feb. 24 instead of one with Michael Vick, who backed out Wednesday for “personal reasons,” according to Harpo. Arquette taped his interview on Thursday, Feb. 17. (Said Vick via his rep in a statement: “After careful consideration, I will need to postpone the taping of the Oprah Winfrey interview scheduled for February 22. I admire and respect Oprah and hope to be able to participate in an interview in the future.”) It’s a good trade-off for Winfrey: Though not as controversial a figure as Vick, Arquette made headlines earlier this year for his split from wife, Courteney Cox, and a subsequent all-too-revealing interview with Howard Stern about his marriage. Arquette’s over-sharing tendencies should bode well for Winfrey’s ratings.

Read more:
Michael Vick cancels Oprah appearance for Feb. 24 show
Courteney Cox and David Arquette separate
David Arquette talks to Howard Stern about Courteney Cox
David Arquette exclusive: Wes Craven says the actor was in ‘a lot of pain’
David Arquette developing game show with ‘themed’ celebrity panel

Michael Vick cancels Oprah appearance for Feb. 24 show

Michael-VickImage Credit: Ronald Martinez/Getty ImagesMichael Vick has canceled his upcoming appearance on Oprah. In a statement, Harpo announced: “Michael Vick was scheduled to be a guest on The Oprah Winfrey Show for an episode airing next Thursday, Feb. 24. Mr. Vick’s representatives called last night to cancel his appearance for personal reasons.” On the show, Vick was slated to discuss the 18 months he served in prison for running a dog-fighting ring, and his attempts to revamp his image with the Humane Society. Vick is currently playing for the Philadelphia Eagles after being reinstated in the NFL in 2009. Vick also starred in a 2010 docu-series, The Michael Vick Project. UPDATE: Vick’s rep issued the following statement regarding the cancellation on behalf of the NFL player: “After careful consideration, I will need to postpone the taping of the Oprah Winfrey interview scheduled for February 22. I admire and respect Oprah and hope to be able to participate in an interview in the future.”

Read more:
‘The Michael Vick Project’ recap: Do you feel bad for him yet?

OWN's first hit: 'Oprah Behind the Scenes'

oprah-behind-the-scenesImage Credit: Harpo ProductionsFascination over Oprah Winfrey’s final season in daytime has been a boon for Season 25: Oprah Behind the Scenes, OWN’s Friday night unscripted show that has made stars out of the crew of Harpo Prods in Chicago, Ill.  It’s currently the No. 1 show on the Oprah Winfrey Network (546,000 viewers) and has seen a 40% boost in the network’s key women 25-54 demo from DVR usage.

Versus what Discovery Health was averaging last year, Behind the Scenes is up 262% in viewers and 50% in women 25-54. READ FULL STORY

First Lady Michelle Obama to appear on 'Oprah Winfrey Show'

michelle-obamaWhen two of America’s most powerful women collide: Michelle Obama is set to appear on The Oprah Winfrey Show, according to the Associated Press. The first lady will return to Chicago — her hometown — for the interview, set to air Thursday. Among other topics, Obama will speak to the talk show maven about supporting military families.

Read more:
Piers Morgan interviews Oprah on CNN: Larry King? Who’s Larry King?

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