Oprah's chilling effect on Kitty Kelley's book

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Perhaps you saw Kitty Kelley discussing her new, unauthorized Oprah biography this morning on the "Today" show. Hope you enjoyed it, because you're not likely to see Kelley on too many other shows pimping her book.

That's because a lot of the big outlets that might seem like naturals for a long, two-commerical-break Oprah discussion -- from "The View" to David Letterman -- aren't giving Kelley the time of day. Apparently, they don't want to get on Oprah's bad side.

51309270AW001_Kitty_Kelley.jpgKelley's 544-page look back, Oprah: A Biography, of Winfrey's life hits shelves tomorrow. She's written juicy books about the Bush family, Nancy Reagan, and Frank Sinatra and she told The New York Times this weekend that no one has been as secretive and protective of her private life than Oprah. Not even Sinatra -- and he allegedly threatened to have Kelley killed.

"In promoting this book, we have already been told by Barbara Walters's producer, 'No, you cannot be on "The View," I cannot disrupt my relationship with Oprah,'" Kelley told the Times. "Joy Behar, the same thing. Charlie Rose; Larry King said, I will not do it, it might upset Oprah. Even David Letterman. ... Well, if you had a choice between being a friend of Oprah Winfrey or Kitty, no contest, right?"

See photos of Oprah Winfrey's life here!

A Larry King insider said Friday: "Larry King hasn't spoken with Kitty Kelley in five years." I guess we're supposed to assume that that's a trend and it will continue.

Kelley says she's even been snubbed by Rachael Ray, "which is kind of understandable because she's an Oprah acolyte."

"All said very openly that it was because of Oprah," Kelley says.

ABC has even banned Kelley and promotion of her Oprah book from any show on its network.

So for now, the "Today" show is it. Kelley's next stop: Bill O'Reilly. (Ouch.)

See photos of Oprah's big moments in Chicago here!

What could these media organizations be so afraid of? Oprah's launching her own cable network. No one needs her approval, nor does she really require anyone else's at this point. If Oprah's mad at you, she ... what? Fights fire with fire and doesn't have the cast of "Desperate Housewives" on a very special episode of "Oprah"? OK, that explains ABC's decision. But what could Oprah do to "The View"? Or Letterman? Is she so powerful behind the scenes now that her personal opinion has become an actual commodity?

The Times article touches on the "cult of secrecy" around Oprah and makes it all sound very cloak-and-dagger. It's as if Oprah can take out enemy targets at will. She could shutter a TV show or pull the plug on a blog, if she felt crossed. Which really is kind of a frightening thing to

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2 Comments

Yawn!!!!!!!!!!

Reminds me of the time some guy wrote an unauthorized biography of Johnny Carson (Carson was still hosting The Tonight Show at the time). No one would have the guy on their show to promote the book for fear of alienating Johnny.

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This page contains a single entry by Thomas Conner published on April 12, 2010 10:32 AM.

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