August 2009 Archives

New Oprah Winfrey book club pick coming Sept. 18

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Check your Twitter: Oprah Winfrey has some news.

The talk show host tweeted Monday that her first new book club pick in a year will be announced Friday, Sept. 18. In her announcement, Winfrey stated she had ³never made a selection like Œthis.²¹ The week of Sept. 14 could be a record-breaker for the publishing industry.

It starts that Monday with the release of Sen. Ted Kennedy¹s ³True Compass,² followed the next day by Dan Brown¹s ³The Lost Symbol² and capped by Winfrey¹s choice, which almost surely will sell hundreds of thousands of copies.

Winfrey¹s most recent pick was David Wroblewski¹s ³The Story of Edgar Sawtelle.² It was a word-of-mouth hit last summer and became a blockbuster in the fall after Winfrey endorsed it.


Oprah Winfrey and America's favorite physician -- Dr. Memhet Oz -- want you to know they don't endorse dozens of açaí berry products that claim their seal of approval -- and they're suing to prove it.

"Many Americans have seen images of me, and Oprah and others supporting, it would appear, products that actually don't work in the ways that are described," Oz said in an exclusive interview Thursday with ABC's "Good Morning America." "And more importantly, when consumers trusting us try to buy these products over the Web, what they end up getting are fake products, pills that don't really have what's promised in them. They're often duped into paying more than they should. If my picture is next to a product, endorsing it and supporting your purchase of it, I did not give them permission."

Winfrey and Oz have filed suit against 40 companies either selling açaí or related products, with their name endorsements on them.

According to their complaint, such companies are "fabricating quotes or falsely purporting to speak in Dr. Oz's and/or Ms. Winfrey's voice about specific brands and products that neither of them has endorsed."

"Consumers should be aware that neither Oprah Winfrey nor Dr. Oz are associated with nor do they endorse any açaí berry product, company or online solicitation of such products, including MonaVie juice products," a statement read on Winfrey's Web site. "Neither Oprah nor Dr. Oz are associated with nor do they endorse any specific resveratrol product, company or online solicitation of such products. Any companies that misrepresent their affiliation are making false claims."

Attorney General Lisa Madigan has also filed suit on behalf of consumers allegedly tricked by the fake endorsement scam.

"For thousands of dieters, the quest for a miracle product has become a nightmare," Madigan said in a press release. "Far too often, consumers end up losing their money -- not weight -- in these deals."

Some companies market the berry as a dietary supplement in the form of tables, juices, smoothies and drink powders, claiming the berry provides increased energy levels and sexual performance.


Queen of the night Whitney Houston is kicking off her music comeback by giving her first interview in seven years to the queen of daytime television.

The Grammy-award winner and pop icon sits down in an exclusive interview with Oprah Winfrey on Sept. 14 to kick off the 24th season of "The Oprah Winfrey Show."

Houston -- who's sold over 170 million albums worldwide and has won six Grammys -- is slated to release her new highly-anticipated album "I Look To You" on Aug. 31.

"Good Morning America" will air a taped performance by Houston promoting her upcoming album on Sept. 2.

AP photo

A reputed drug dealer charged with possession and intent to deliver cocaine was allegedly involved in drug deals worth at least $2 million, many taking place around Oprah Winfrey's Harpo Studios on the Near West Side.

Rickey Bell (aka "Rich," "Richey," and "Fat Boy") was charged in a federal criminal complaint Wednesday with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute in excess of five kilograms of cocaine, according to Sun-Times News Wire reports.

The complaint contained testimony from five confidential sources -- each indicted on drug conspiracy charges and hoping to get lesser sentences in exchange for their cooperation -- who detailed drug deals they allegedly made with Bell on several occasions. The deals often taking place in the area of the Harpo Studios at Carpenter and Washington streets.

One confidential sources said, according to the complaint, that on multiple occasions between late 2006 to early 2007, the source, who worked for a drug trafficking organization, was instructed to deliver loads of cocaine to Bell. For each of the meetings, the source said they met Bell near Harpo Studios, or on some other occasions near Menard and Diversey on the Northwest Side.

For each of the approximately 10 meetings, according to the complaint, the source delivered between 10 and 30 kilograms of cocaine to Bell. For about half of those deliveries, Bell gave the source bags with cash payments.

Another source said that from 2004 to 2007, they delivered loads of between 15 to 20 kilograms of cocaine to Bell. By 2006, the source would deliver about 50 kilograms every few months, typically near Harpo Studios or a tire shop on Jefferson Street in the West Loop.

A third confidential source told agents they had delivered cocaine to Bell approximately 15 to 20 times from 2006 to 2007, each time delivering between 20 to 30 kilograms, and over time as much as 50 kilograms.

The source told agents Bell often drove a minivan to meet the source in the area of Harpo Studios, as well as on the Near North Side near Division Street and North Avenue.

Two other confidential drug suppliers related similar stories, according to the complaint.

As part of the investigation, the DEA recovered a number of ledger-type documents, consisting of records maintained in a Palm Pilot and a Yahoo! E-mail account. Based on information provided by the sources, the ledgers reflect, among other things, narcotics deliveries made to and cash payments collected from various wholesale customers.

For example, the complaint says, the Palm Pilot ledger reflects deliveries totaling approximately 60 kilograms of cocaine in or around the summer of 2006 to one person at a price of about $17,000 per kilogram.

During that same approximate time frame, the ledger reflects payments made by that same person totaling about $635,000. Additionally, between late 2006 to early 2007, the Palm Pilot ledger reflects deliveries totaling approximately 45 kilograms of cocaine and payments of at least $900,000.

Court information for Bell was not immediately available from the U.S> Attorney's office Wednesday afternoon.

Talk-show host Oprah Winfrey raises a champagne toast to Dr. Mehmet Oz, her in-house medical and health expert.

Make me proud -- that's the one thing Oprah Winfrey asked of Dr. Mehmez Oz -- the medical genius who the talk show queen has turned into a household name.

Oz -- who debuts his new show called "The Dr. Oz Show" Sept. 14 on FOX -- regards Winfrey on such a high level he only refers to her as "Ms. Winfrey." (Click the video to the left to watch the entire interview)

One thing's for sure, Oz definitely owes a lot to Winfrey -- including his new talk show. The medical genius told FOX Chicago's Mark Saxenmeyer that Winfrey is the fairest person he's met.

"She's spectacularly ordinary, and extraordinary all at the same time and she does that so beautifully," Oz said in the interview from Aspen, Colo. "She really is the fairest person I've ever met."

After five years and 55 episodes, Oz wrapped up his tour of duty on Winfrey's show in May.

Winfrey's Harpo Productions and Sony Pictures Television both are producing Oz's new show.

"This is a show I believe in. Judging by the response from our viewers, Dr. Oz has already demonstrated he is a valued and trusted medical expert who has created a deep connection with our audience," Winfrey said in a release in June.

Just what has Oz learned from Winfrey? Read Saxenmeyer's full report and the four things he's taken from his relationship from the talk show queen.


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