Mark Bieganski: September 2009 Archives

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Oprah Winfrey's pulling out all the stops for what's mounting to be quite the star-studded season premiere week.

Winfrey's touted an exclusive interview with Whitney Houston for weeks now with no topic off limits -- including drugs, divorce and the singer's career.

The Houston interview, which kicks off the show's 24th season on Sept. 14, will be a two-parter airing Monday and Tuesday.

Winfrey will pay tribute that Wednesday to late pop singer Michael Jackson -- who died in June after an overdose of the drug propofol. Included in the tribute will be excerpts from her 1993 interview with Jackson.

Dr. Phil returns to Winfrey's show Thursday -- telling the story of a woman whose father is a serial killer.

Winfrey's season premiere week ends live from New York -- with Mariah Carey, Regis Philbin, Kelly Ripa and her new book club announcement.

The first leg of a trial over a sex abuse scandal at Oprah Winfrey's South Africa school is over.

Prosecutors finished presenting witnesses Wednesday -- most of whom are students that testified behind closed doors because of their age -- in the case against a former dorm matron accused of abusing six students and another supervisor.

The matron -- Tiny Virginia Makopo -- pleaded not guilty to the accusations last July.

Oprah Winfrey greets Mayor Richard Daley at a private reception before a women's development conference in 2006 at Navy Pier. Winfrey announced yesterday she's throwing a kick off party in Chicago that'll close down part of Michigan Avenue. (Rich Hein/Sun-Times)

From my colleague Fran Spielman who covers City Hall for the Sun-Times:

Mayor Daley this morning defended the city's decision to close down a congested choke of North Michigan Avenue next week to let talk show diva Oprah Winfrey kick off her 24th season in style.

Oprah plans to tape her show -- with special guests the Black Eyed Peas -- at the intersection of Michigan and Ohio. It will require the city to close Michigan between Wacker and Ohio at 12:01 a.m. Sept. 7 and keep it closed until 5 a.m. Sept. 9th Although Oprah's Harpo Studios will reimburse taxpayers for the cost of city services, the inconvenience to motorists cannot be calculated.

But Daley said it's worth the cost.

"This is a great thing we're doing," Daley said. "Wish we could do this every day in Chicago. How many people it will employ. How much publicity we'll receive throughout the world. It is unbelievable.

"You can't even give us that exposure globally. She's an icon in the industry. It's very, very important.

"What other cities do it? Take New York City. Take Los Angeles. . . For the filming industry. They do this every day unfortunately."

But what about the inconvenience to the average person?

"They'll understand how important this is, dealing with jobs, dealing with international exposure," Daley said. "This is really important. This is a great opportunity. I'm very proud. I wish your media outlets would do something like this. Hello?"

Erin Andrews to Oprah: Nude video was 'nightmare'

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ESPN reporter Erin Andrews said in an interview with Oprah Winfrey that having secretly videotaped nude footage of her distributed on the Internet was a "nightmare."

Winfrey's interview with Andrews will air Friday, Sept. 11, as part of a "Summer Headlines" show that previews the 24th season of "The Oprah Winfrey Show." Andrews also tells Winfrey she "opened up the computer (and) could feel my heart pounding."

Andrews' attorney has said the blurry five-minute video was shot at a hotel without her knowledge and she plans to seek criminal charges and file lawsuits against whoever shot the video and anyone who publishes it.

The reporter also says she's excited to get back to work this fall, adding "it's really going to help me heal my wounds."

Andrews will be working on air Thursday night for the first time since the video became widespread news. She'll be the sideline reporter for ESPN's broadcast of South Carolina at North Carolina State.

It was not clear when the video of Andrews in the hotel room first appeared on the Internet. The person who first posted the video didn't identify the nude woman, and Andrews' attorney later confirmed the video was of the 31-year-old reporter.

Andrews, a former University of Florida dance team member, was an Internet sensation even before the video's circulation. Some Web sites have referred to her as "Erin Pageviews" because of the traffic she can generate, and Playboy magazine named her "sexiest sportscaster" in both 2008 and 2009. She has covered numerous sports for the network since 2004, often as a sideline reporter. -AP

Olympic athletes pose during a taping of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" Sept. 3, 2008, at Millennium Park. The show kicked off Winfrey's 23rd season. (HARPO)

Oprah Winfrey's throwing a party -- and she's inviting EVERYONE to come.

Winfrey will kick off the 24th season of her show with a free bash in downtown Chicago Sept. 8 that'll shut down parts of Michigan Avenue for almost three days.

The kick off will be headlined by a special appearance from the Black Eyed Peas, as well as other surprise guests. The group recently re-recorded its "I Gotta Feeling" song with a Winfrey twist to promote her upcoming season.

Doors for the taping open at noon, Sept. 8, at the intersection of Michigan Avenue and Ohio Street and no overnight camping is permitted. The city plans on shutting down Michigan Avenue between Wacker Drive and Ohio Street at midnight the night before until 5 a.m. the day after the event.

According to the Red Eye, Winfrey is picking up the tab for the event and the city expenses that come with it, including the cost of shutting down the streets.

This isn't the first time Winfrey's used downtown Chicago as a landscape for her show.

Last year, Winfrey kicked off her season with an olympic-size debut in Chicago's Millenium Park welcoming more than 100 athletes from team USA back from the Beijing Olympics.

Target and T-Mobile are co-sponsoring the show, which will air Sept. 10.

Here's the details:

Admission is free and open to all ages. Minors should be accompanied by an adult. Doors will open at 12:00 p.m. CDT on Tuesday, September 8 at the intersection of Michigan Avenue and Ohio Street, and space is available on a first-come, first-serve basis. Camping overnight will not be permitted.
The taping will begin promptly at 5:00 p.m., rain or shine. Space is standing-room only for the approximately two-hour taping.

Attendees making a day of the production are encouraged to bring their own snacks and water. No food of any kind will be provided. Water stations will be available within the designated production area. There will be no seats provided or available for guests attending the show. No professional recording equipment is permitted.

• The City of Chicago anticipates closing Michigan Avenue between Wacker Drive and Ohio Street on Monday, September 7 at 12:01 a.m. for the taping of "The Oprah Winfrey Show." Expect the closure to remain in effect until Wednesday, September 9 at 5:00 a.m.
• Traffic is expected to be heavy in these areas. Traffic patterns may need to be adjusted periodically throughout the day.
• Pedestrian access along Michigan Avenue will remain open at all times, including access into all buildings along the Michigan Avenue corridor.
• CTA reroutes will be in effect. Customers may obtain travel information by visiting CTA's website at, by calling 1-888-YOUR-CTA or the RTA Travel Information Center at 836-7000 from any local Chicago area code. Attendees are strongly encouraged to take public transportation to and from the show taping. Public parking options will be limited.

• Clark Street, Dearborn and Lake Shore Drive may be used as alternates.
• Lower Illinois Street, Ohio Street and Grand Avenue will remain open to traffic.

The transportation pick up and drop off location for Paratransit vehicles and private vehicles transporting guests with disabilities will be located on the west side of Cityfront Plaza Drive between Illinois and North Water Streets (across from NBC Tower). Guests with disabilities will be escorted to designated ADA areas.

You can find more information at


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About this Archive

This page is a archive of recent entries written by Mark Bieganski in September 2009.

Mark Bieganski: August 2009 is the previous archive.

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