Oprah “Winfrey is a self-made billionaire (Forbes estimates her net worth at $2.8 billion) with lavish homes tucked behind gates and, yes, her own studio. She has a TV network, too, along with an eponymous magazine and a megadeal with Apple that will include a book club, documentaries and — she teases here — a potential series that would put her back in the interviewing chair,” Lacey Rose reports for The Hollywood Reporter. “She’s also parlayed her iconic status into opportunities to educate and inspire worldwide.”
Rose: “You have so much cultural power. Short of running yourself in 2020 … (Shakes her head no.) … how do you use it?”
• Right now, I’m studying the field. I’m reading “Shortest Way Home” by [Pete Buttigieg], I call him Buttabeep, Buttaboop. (Laughs.) The name’s either going to really hurt or [really help] — I think it’s going to help, actually. Just the other day, I was at Apple with Spielberg and we were in the hallway talking about, (employing a dramatic voice) “What are we going to do?” And I said, “Have you heard of this Butta guy?” He goes, “No, Butta-who?” I go, “Buttabeep, Buttaboop. Look him up.” …I like saying “Butta.” (Laughs.) So I’m reading about him. I have Kamala’s book. I just got the Vanity Fair piece on Beto [O’Rourke]. I’d done some research background stuff on him before. I already know Cory [Booker]. So I’m quietly figuring out where I’m going to use my voice in support.
• Apple exposes you to a whole lot more people. The thing that I’m really, really excited about — as I said that day — is creating the world’s largest book club. And if I want to do a film or a doc series … The best place for [my docuseries on mental health] is not on OWN. Because you don’t have the bandwidth and you have to create a completely different audience and then you have to have marketing.
Rose: “One of your other Apple projects will be about sexual abuse in the workplace. If you’re successful, what will you have revealed?”
• My mission is always about letting other people know, “You’re not alone.” Obviously, we’re going to do the women in Hollywood and in the music business, but what was important to me was to be inclusive of waitresses and factory workers and nurses and nuns and people who you’d never imagine, so that the world can see themselves in their stories. I’ve been adamant that if you only tell the Hollywood story, you can only be partially heard.
Rose: “What else do you want to tackle as part of the Apple collaboration?”
• I don’t want to be in a daily rhythm of trying to come up with people to interview, but when there are people who are of the culture — like, last year, I would’ve wanted to sit down and have a conversation with Christine Blasey Ford. Right now, I’d probably want to sit down and talk to Butta.
Rose: Do you foresee this as one-offs or a series?
• Maybe at some point there will be a regular series.
• I’m no longer doing [^0 Minutes]. I’ve removed myself from that, so I have only 85 jobs now… I’d actually gone to [former 60 Minutes executive producer] Jeff Fager prior to the whole CBS (pantomimes an explosion) and said I was going to be working with Apple and that it didn’t mean I would never do something [with 60 Minutes] but I would probably be taking all of my energies and putting them into whatever I wanted to do at Apple. It was an interesting experience for me. I enjoyed working with the teams, and I’m probably going to work with some of the freelance people on my Apple stuff, but it was not the best format for me.
Much more in the full article here.
MacDailyNews Take: One of the more compelling things about streaming services like Apple TV+ is that ratings (audience viewershp) aren’t really a thing. Yes, you want people to watch the content, but if something is interesting to a smaller audience, streaming platforms can get it made and make it available for viewing. That has to be compelling to creatives, especially to any creative who’s been dependent on ratings and/or box office performance in order to keep working.
Obviously, Oprah has enough money to produce whatever she’d like, but Apple offers to not only fund projects for her, but also provides tremendous reach, hence Oprah’s comment during Apple’s special event: “The Apple platform allows me to do what I do in a whole new way. They’re in a billion pockets, y’all. A billion pockets!”
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