Mark Bieganski: May 2008 Archives

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Even if you're not a fan of Oprah Winfrey's long-running talk show -- there is arguably one show (lately she's done it twice a year) not to miss.

Sure, most of us probably can't afford -- or will even end up with -- some of the lavish picks Oprah and her producers choose (remember the HDTV fridge from the holiday show that cost almost $4,000?). But if you're like me, seeing a studio audience filled with grown up and mature women (and some men, though the two in her audience had no clue why the women were going crazy) cheer and cry like they're teeny boppers at a New Kids concert is quite entertaining. (There have even been SNL skits poking fun at the whole process).


Nonetheless, Oprah unveiled a much more affordable "Favorite things" show Friday with her top picks for summer -- calling in the guest help of Donald Trump, television favorite Heidi Klum and Mary J. Blige.

Fast-forward through two minutes of screaming, crying and jumping (at least no one jumped on the couch) to a few Oprah picks we can both afford that are sure enough some of the hottest things to have for the summer.

The most expensive, yet useful giveaway: Weber Genesis EP-310 gas grill ($849 on the show, but we found a much cheaper model online).

The grill comes in handy when cooking up Donald Trump's (now famous) turkey burger that Oprah snacked on while at his Mar-a-lago resort. Combined with chopped apples and chutney, I even wanted one, but maybe that's because I didn't have breakfast before watching the show.

The most entertaining part: Trump had never even tried the burger until appearing on Oprah's show, yet was touting it off like he knew what he was talking about.

Anyway, back to the grill.

A sure hit for BBQ lovers, the grill features three stainless steel burners, warming rack and is available in multiple, stylish colors. (Now we're talking.)

America's top model Heidi Klum -- who wasn't embarrassed to say the less suit the better when it comes to showing off some skin at the beach -- highlighted bold, colorful and inexpensive bathing suit picks from Old Navy ($25) and H&M ($20) to complement the sometimes expensive handbags and Pucci sunglasses.

Two sure-fire hits for women afraid to show off too much skin: the Norma Kamali "Bill" swimsuit -- which retails for $350 but according to Oprah you'll get a good ten years out of.

When fashion meets economics: Check out the Yummie Tummie tank -- which contours to your body to slim your midsection. It comes in 10 hot colors and retails for about $62 at Bloomingdales and Neiman Marcus.

Oprah pal and "O" magazine editor Gayle King unveiled winners of the "O" wards -- top beauty products you can't miss this season. The duo showed off about a dozen and a half products, but their biggest favorites: the CoverGirl LashBlash mascara and OPI Nic Stick's Paint & Go Nail Lacquer.

Click here for the complete list of winners >>

Another cool pick was a pair of FitFlops -- designed to help give you a workout while you walk.

Summer isn't complete without a getaway -- that's why Marriott donated $200 gift cards to the studio audience -- to use with a new, stylish weekender bag by Toss Designs. The bags retail for $168 but are cute three times over (Oprah also tucked in a $267 pink GPS direction devices for the audience, too.)

It wouldn't be a giveaway show without something from the Oprah brand. Unveiling Oprah magazine's new cookbook (with recipes from power chefs like Ina Garten and and Art Smith), Oprah called attention to her new summer drink -- a pomegranate daiquiri. (I'm not going to lie, that sounded good, too, just like the burger.)

I've never bought one of Mary J. Blige's albums (though everytime she's on Oprah I always want to) but the R&B singer closed out the show with music from her new album "Growing Pains" -- which members of the audience took home as well.

The already controversial Oprah Winfrey burial mask – which was up for auction on eBay last month and seen here at the Merchandise Mart’s Artropolis– is raising eyebrows again.

Sculptor Daniel Edwards – whose other creations include The Paris Hilton Autopsy and a sculpture of Britney giving birth on a rug (really?) – has sculpted “puppy versions” of Winfrey’s late dogs Sophie and Gracie to sit atop her head.

The sculpture – which goes on exhibit May 22 at the Leo Kesting Gallery in New York – somehow is said to depict the “overlooked threat of accidental pet fatality by common household products."

Winfrey’s Cocker Spaniel Sophie died earlier this year of kidney failure, while her Golden Retriever Gracie died in 2007 from choking on a ball.

No word on whether this addition will be up for grabs on eBay, or whether we'll be seeing it atop Mama O 's mantle anytime soon.

Oprah's Big Give canceled

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Despite solid ratings during it's 8-week run Sundays on ABC, "Oprah's Big Give" won't be back for another season.

The show was left off ABC's fall lineup -- which came out today -- because Oprah decided not to do it for another season.

"We loved that show and absolutely would have loved to bring it back," ABC entertainment president Steve McPherson said in a statement. "But it was something (Oprah) didn't want to do."

Oprah Winfrey is again asking her viewers to connect with their souls -- this time, through a series of spiritual webcasts each week on Oprah.com.

Starting tonight ay 8 p.m. CT, readers can watch videotaped sessions of Oprah's weekly XM Radio show each week on her popular Web site. The sessions -- with acclaimed spiritual leaders, thinkers and authors -- are also available for download.

Tonight Oprah talks with Jill Bolte Taylor -- a Harvard-trained scientist whose life flashed before her eyes when a blood vessel exploded in her brain.

Here’s a list of other scheduled Web casts that’ll be available on her site in the upcoming months:

Eckhart Tolle: May 26, June 2
Wayne Dyer: June 9, 16
Elizabeth Lesser: June 23, 30
Jon Kabat-Zinn: July 7
Sarah Ban Breathnach: July 14
Larry Dossey: July 21, 28
Ainslie MacLeod: August 4
Byron Katie: August 11
Kathy Freston: August 18
Rodger Kamenetz: August 25


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Hey Tina Turner fans, here's your chance to pre-order your tickets to her upcoming Chicago concerts -- before they go on sale to the public.

Tickets don't officially go on sale until Monday, but you can preorder your tickets through Oprah.com or Ticketmaster using this special code: HARPOANIT

Turner and music diva Cher appeared Thursday on a special edition of the Oprah show from Cesar's Palace in Las Vegas.

Turner -- who's 68 -- embarks on a new U.S. tour Oct. 1 in Kansas City. She'll appear in Chicago Oct. 3 at the United Center and Oct. 6 at the Allstate Arena.


People magazine

Not only are the Mariah Carey/Nick Cannon rumors true, but Oprah has the pics to prove it.

Winfrey revealed exclusive People magazine pictures of the duo's wedding today on her show today -- nearly a week after Carey (and Cannon backstage) appeared on the show.

Oprah pal Gayle King -- who talked to Carey backstage during last week's taping -- said she didn't think the duo knew they were going to get married when Mariah was there.

The talk show host one-upped her best friend and said Mariah was well aware she was getting married because she was sporting a "Mrs. Cannon" tattoo on her body.

"Mariah told me herself that she has never felt this way about anyone in her whole life," King said.

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Star Jones and Rosie O'Donnell fired back at TV vet Barbara Walters Tuesday -- the same day she told all to Oprah Winfrey during Tuesday's show about the controversies surround their departures from "The View."

"Just like Reverend Wright, some people confuse passion for rage," O'Donnell said Tuesday on the "Today" show with Kathie Lee Gifford and Hota Katb. "Passion on that show was not number one."

O'Donnell -- who is still friends with Walters -- was lighter spoken than Star Jones.

The former view co-host Jones fired back, issuing a statement to UsWeekly about Walters' allegations on the Winfrey show and in her book.

“It is a sad day when an icon like Barbara Walters, in the sunset of her life, is reduced to publicly branding herself as an adulterer, humiliating an innocent family with accounts of her illicit affair and speaking negatively against me all for the sake of selling a book. It speaks to her true character,” Jones said.



Courtesy Redlasso

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First lady of television Barbara Walters admitted Tuesday she repeatedly lied to viewers for former "The View" host Star Jones, and described Rosie O'Donnell as full of rage and anger.


Walters showed a side most have never seen before in an exclusive interview Tuesday on the "Oprah Winfrey Show" promoting her new book "Audition."


The veteran journalist and celebrity interviewer said a "cloud came over her" the day Star Jones unexpectedly decided to announce she was leaving "The View" during a live broadcast.


Walters described the first nine years of the daytime show as "awesome," but said after host Meredith Vieira announced she was leaving the show, Jones began to change.


"She was clinically obese. She could barely walk onto the set," Walters said of Jones. "[She] decided to have an operation, but then she decided not to tell anyone."


"We had to then lie on the set everyday because she said it was portion control and Pilates," Walters said. "She was our colleague, and she really did not want us to out her."


Four months after Jones decided to have gastric bypass surgery, Jones met soon-to-be hubby Al Reynolds and decided she wanted to have the "biggest" wedding fit for a princess, Walters said.


Walters said Jones made a whirlwind tour of interviews chronicling her weight loss in return for free flowers and other gifts for her luxurious wedding.


With ratings in the slump, ABC execs met with Walters and told her Jones needed to go.


"They thought she was greatly damaging the program. The audience didn't know her anymore," Walters said. "They didn't relate to her anymore. They didn't like her anymore. She was getting thinner and thinner and everything was perfect in her life, but it wasn't."


Walters said she was furious with Jones for announcing her departure on air the way she did, but said the two have met since to bury the hatchet.


Describing a new chapter in "The View" history, Walters said she approached Rosie O'Donnell to return to daytime television, but went on to described O'Donnell as being full of "rage" and "anger."


"She began to think of me as her mother -- that was both good and bad," Walters said. From day one, Walters said O'Donnell made some wonderful changes on the show, but that it was also a very difficult time.


Walters said the day the O'Donnel/Donald Trump feud erupted, she was on a cruise in the Carribbean and got a call from show execs saying O'Donnell called Trump a "snake oil salesman" and that he was bankrupt.


Walters spoke with Trump shortly after the show, who began giving interviews of his own, saying Walters believed Rosie was a big mistake on the show.


She said although ratings for the show surged during the Trump fued, it was a challenging time for her and O'Donnell.


"She felt I hadn't supported her enough," Walters said. "She felt as much as I defended her, I didn't defend her in life."


O'Donnell had only signed on to do one year as host of "The View," but that relationship came to an abrupt end when she and co-host Elizabeth Hasselbeck had a big blowup on the show.


"There came a screaming match like you've never heard before," Walters said, who wasn't on the show that day but said she called the control room during the feud and begged them to go to a commercial break.


The show's producer refused to go to commercial because O'Donnell said she would walk off the stage if that happened.


"Rosie for her own reasons decided not to come back," Walters said. "I will always have the greatest affection for her. She gave the show a new boost."


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In the first of a two-part interview with Oprah Winfrey, Tom Cruise denied rumors that his daughter with actress Katie Holmes isn't really his -- and that he regrets the way the media blew his "couch-jumping incident" out of proportion during his last Oprah show appearance.

"My life was already a zoo, then Kate came in and it was a bigger zoo," he said about meeting Holmes and the infamous Oprah show appearance.

"Every time you did it I thought, 'He's doing it again'," Oprah said about his appearance three years ago on her show. The two -- who are long-time friends -- haven't seen each other since his last appearance on the show.

It just took on a life of its own, Cruise responded, saying the aftermath was just something you had to "take in stride."

Winfrey made the trip to Cruise's Telluride, Colo., home last month for the interview, which is part of a special commemorating his 25th anniversary of filming "Risky Business."

Winfrey was greeted by Cruise and Holmes -- who made a rare appearance at the beginning of the show -- during her first trip to his mountaintop estate.

"It's rustic, but yet not so rustic," Winfrey said about their home, which her cameras and the show's audience were given rare access to. For the first time, the public was able to see inside Cruise and Holmes home -- including shots of their living room, daughter Suri's play area and kitchen.

Cruise told Winfrey he regretted the way his controversial interview with Matt Lauer turned out, and that he felt "pressured" during the questioning.

In 2005, Cruise openly criticized actress Brooke Shields for using Paxil because of postpartum depression, which led to an on-air argument with him and Lauer.

"It came out wrong -- as a result we're even closer friends," Cruise said about his statements and his relationship now with Shields. "I regret discussing Brooke in any way. Afterwards I felt I could have handled it better. For me to tell anyone ... how to live their life ... as a man or a human being I don't believe that."

Cruise acknowledged the increased media pressure felt by him and wife Holmes during the birth of their daughter.

The couple tried to keep her pregnancy a secret as long as possible -- and even brought a sonogram machine and doctor to their home for privacy.

"When you're having a baby, you just want to be safe," Cruise said.

He also denied rumors that Suri isn't his child.

"It's one thing to come after me, but when it comes to my family, my children, that's when I said it was off the chart," Cruise said.

Winfrey also asked Cruise about his relationship with former wife Nicole Kidman and whether reports of her being pushed out of their children's lives are true.

He denied that as well, but said the family has never gotten together with Holmes and Kidman because "everyone's so busy."

The second part of the Cruise and Winfrey interview airs Monday on ABC.

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Harpo

The questions you've always wondered. The answers she's never given.

Veteran journalist and host of ABC's "The View" Barbara Walters is sitting down with Oprah Winfrey in an exclusive interview airing Tuesday -- and Oprah's leaving no topic untouched.

Walters says she lied about Jones' departure to protect her and that Rosie O'Donnell was filled with rage and anger.

For the first time and after keeing quiet for nearly three decades, Walters also acknowleges her secret affair with married U.S. Senator Edward Brooke -- who was also one of the first black men elected to the Senate.

Walters' interview is part of a power lineup of May shows which began with a Sex and the City cast reunion, a two-part exclusive interview with Tom Cruise and a special Vegas-style progam with Tina Turner and Cher.


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About this Archive

This page is a archive of recent entries written by Mark Bieganski in May 2008.

Mark Bieganski: April 2008 is the previous archive.

Mark Bieganski: June 2008 is the next archive.

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