Last week, fans started to speak up against Winfrey--stating that people were fraudulently stuffing the online ballot box, according to the New York Times.
Some fans have even suggested that Winfrey herself was behind the scam.
In a statement, the OWN channel spokesperson said that no "contestant has been favored in this competition," but that an investigation would be undertaken and that all votes would be verified twice. The five most popular online contestants will go before a casting director, but only one is guaranteed a spot on the reality show, though OWN could choose to add more than one. A total of 10 in-person and online contestants will vie for a spot; eventually the show's winner will be hired by OWN."
As of Sunday, the top two runners Zach Anner and Phyllis Wick-Turner were separated by two million votes.
There's more to "Dancing with the Stars" than fancy footwork and learning new routines. Brooke Burke, who co-hosts "Dancing" with Tom Bergeron, revealed on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" Monday that there is much planning and prep work that goes into each show, making "Dancing" a seven-day-a-week production.
Burke took cameras backstage on "Dancing" to show rehearsals -- during which she was shown wearing large curlers -- and what the stars do to get all dolled up for each show.
Mother of eight and reality show diva Kate Gosselin, who was cast off the show last week, revealed "Dancing" concocts its own spray tan so that each star and dancer doesn't look fake-baked.
They get hosed down with the special tanner on Sunday and can't take a shower for 24-hours, leaving them greasy and smelly, Gosselin explained.
With all that grease from the spray tan and sweat while dancing, it makes using sticky tape to keep those costumes in place impossible, according to the show's costumes department.
Therefore, the costumes are sewn very tight so no one has a Janet Jackson moment, said Burke, referring to Jackson's wardrobe malfunction at the end of her performance during the Super Bowl XXXVIII halftime show. Burke said the stars work with the costumes department to design their own outfits for each dance.
Even the guys get some work done, according to Gosselin's dance partner Tony Dovolani.
Despite having some definition in his abs, Dovolani removes his shirt and shows how makeup is applied to further define his muscles. While he said he hates having makeup applied, pro dancer Cheryl Burke shook her head no.
As Dovolani was having his abs done up, Gosselin was shown with strips on her face, which Dovolani said with a smile was to help reduce wrinkles.
And what about their hair? Well, the show has a variety of hair extensions so any hairdo is possible.
Brooke Burke won the disco ball trophy with partner Derek Hough in November 2008. She told Winfrey that afterwards, she campaigned -- including on twitter -- her desire to become a cohost of the show. It was among the items on her bucket list, Burke said, and so was being a guest of Winfrey's show.
Nadya Suleman's attorney says the octuplets' mother will appear on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" next week and discuss how she is raising her 14 children.
Jeff Czech told the Orange County Register on Tuesday that Winfrey sent a TV crew to film at Suleman's La Habra home last week. He says Suleman went to a Los Angeles studio to film a remote interview with Winfrey that is scheduled to air April 20. The attorney says the interview covered "straight talk" about surviving with her family of 14 and Winfrey asked his client "some hardballs."
John Edwards' mistress and his wife soon will have more than one thing in common: appearing on "The Oprah Winfrey Show."
Edwards' baby mama, Rielle Hunter, will be a guest on an upcoming show, Oprah's camp has announced. This will be Hunter's first TV interview since the scandal broke.
Oprah's people say no date for the show has been set, but The National Enquirer reports that Oprah will visit Hunter in her Charlotte, N.C., home for a show to air during May sweeps.
"Rielle is super excited to have Oprah come into her home," an insider told The Enquirer exclusively. "She's excited about giving her account of how she met John, how the affair began and what's in store for her future. Rielle also wants to clear the air about the GQ photos -- she's basically doing it to get the truth out and tell her side of the story."
That would make Oprah's talk with Hunter exactly a year after Edwards' wife, Elizabeth, appeared on the show in May 2009 to talk about the affair and Elizabeth's book.
Jessica Simpson says she's not angry with ex-boyfriend John Mayer for an interview he gave to Playboy magazine in which he called the singer "sexual napalm."
Well, she adds, maybe "a little bit angry."
In quotes provided by Harpo Productions, Simpson says on the Wednesday episode of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" that she doesn't want people "to know how I am in bed." In the interview, Mayer talked about Simpson's sexual ability and said Simpson "is like crack cocaine to me."
Simpson said her phone rang "off the hook" after Mayer's interview came out, according to Us mag. "I guess it could have been a lot worse," she says.
Simpson also told Winfrey that she is "absolutely" comfortable with her weight and that she loves her curves. The singer says she's "not going to ever be size 0 and I don't want to weigh 90 pounds."
Winfrey then comments that Simpson looked as if she weighed 90 pounds when she made "The Dukes of Hazzard" in 2005. Simpson says: "I didn't weigh 90 pounds. But I was -- I was definitely smaller. But that was Daisy Duke, that's a role. I was playing a role. I don't want to look like Daisy Duke every day. I don't want to wear a bathing suit every day."
Roger Ebert is asked how he's doing today. "Terrific," he says.
The famed Sun-Times film critic is talking with Oprah using a special type-to-speech computer system. He's discussing his eight-year battle with cancer that took his lower jaw and eventually robbed him of, as Oprah said, "that voice we know and love."
Ebert and his wife, Chaz, came onto the set and sat with Oprah after a segment showing his life at home, his "eating" regimen (dinner from a gravity-fed IV bottle), and his still-rigorous schedule of hitting the screening room for two to four movies a day. (We also saw him running errands that included "meeting with television executives to talk about the possibility of a new show." To which we say: ???!!!)
He's got his laptop in his lap, and he types "terrific." Here's the first exchange:
Ebert then tells a story about how he still talks in his dreams -- and he still enjoys root beer. After losing his ability to eat and drink, he says he was taunted by a boyhood memory of going to the A&W with his father and savoring a root beer. His brother-in-law, he says, suggested that God gave him that memory back as comfort after taking that pleasure form him.
Oprah then announced that Ebert is, as only she could it, "CAN-CER FUH-REE-EEEEEEE!"
We then see Ebert and Chaz tinkering with a new technology from CereProc, a Scottish company, that has sampled dozens of syllables from Ebert's old TV shows to create a synthesized voice for him -- his own voice. (Hear an interview about it here.) Ebert types in a few sentences, and we hear his own voice, slightly synthesized and rough around the edges, reading them back. The lower portion of his face naturally sags now, showing almost constant astonishment, but we can see the real amazement shining in his wide eyes.
"It's uncanny," he says. "It's a good feeling."
Chaz says the last time she heard his actual voice was July 1, 2006.
Then Oprah gives a shout-out to Chaz: "I would like to say, from one woman to another, you are incredible! You make me proud to spell my name w-o-m-a-n. This woman refused to let him die. She refused to let him die. Years ago ... she called me and said, 'I refuse to let him die.' She stood by him and has been with him and has taken care of him, and has shown what true love is."
Ebert says he's done with surgeries, that he has no desire to go through complicated rpcoesses to reconstruct his face. "Nobody looks perfect," he says. "This is the way I look, and my life is happy and productive."
We at the Sun-Times have been overawed by our colleague Roger Ebert's persistence and determination amid his struggle with cancer-related health setbacks. As writers and editors, we've been inspired by the fact that -- following a battle with thyroid cancer that took his lower jaw -- he has lost his voice but not his voice. He keeps writing, he keeps thumbing up and down, he keeps on.
On March 2, Ebert will speak for the first time in four years on "The Oprah Winfrey Show."
Using a remarkable new computer technology, Ebert will chat with Oprah about his Oscar picks for this year. Oprah and her cameras will also follow Ebert and his wife, Chaz, for a day, exploring his life and wining up with a chat in Oprah's studio. Other Oscar-related segments are planned for the "Pre-Oscar Special," including visits with Morgan Freeman and Colin Firth.
A recent Esquire story chronicles Ebert's recent journey, and Ebert himself discusses it here.
Visit Ebert's site for the latest movie reviews and his active, eloquent and wide-ranging blog.
Plus, here's an interview with Dr. Matthew Aylett, chief technical Officer of CereProc, who developed the technology that now allows Ebert to speak ...
No confirmation yet of when Simpson will be on the show -- though you can bet it'll be prior to the March 14 premiere of her new reality show on VH1, "The Price of Beauty" -- but there's already scuttlebutt that she'll be addressing Mayer's remarks, several of which were about her (he said she's "sexual napalm"; she later upbraided him).
"I have no idea what questions [Oprah] will ask," a Harpo rep told MSNBC.
"Knowing Oprah, I'm sure she'll ask Jessica her thoughts about John or her response to him," an insider told Life and Style. "It's up to Jessica how she'll respond. She's remaining tight-lipped on it at the moment."
Oprah next week will be auctioning off items from her closet. But forget that -- I wanna see the auction of pieces from today's set!
The entire set of her talk show today was edible -- and made of chocolate. Chocolate seats, chocolate tables, a chocolate chess set, a chocolate grandfather clock, chocolate wall coverings, chocolate flowers in a chocolate vase ... on and on. The set, created by Larry Abel, even includes a chocolate fireplace. (Warning: Do not light a real fire in there.)
Part promotion, part wow factor, the set was created with nearly 7,000 Godiva chocolate bars and 2,400 Godiva truffles. There's a chandelier made from 1,500 pieces of chocolate.
It's probably an entire chapter in public relations textbooks now: when the damage control is really big and really bad, get your client on Oprah. In the celebrity world, it's secular baptism: Through her, all will be redeemed. The most recent example: Jay Leno.
But maybe not. Oprah allegedly denied the beleaguered pop star access to her couch.
An unidentified source told Popeater.com this week: "Oprah is the smartest person on TV and will not let John use her or her show to ask for forgiveness. If John really wants to apologize for his racist and sexist comments, he should find somewhere else. The only way Oprah, who is a dear friend of Jennifer Aniston, would ever book him is if John were interested in having a much deeper conversation about race, women and fame."
Mayer's been on Oprah's show before, back in '06, discussing how he admires singers who possess "a sense of control" and then adding that "success validates any of the stupid decisions you make in your life" ...
Oprah wants people to hang up and drive -- you, me, and all of her employees.
And her staff is miffed about it.
Sources told Radar Online today that the Chicago talk-show queen made Harpo Productions employees sign a pledge not to talk on cell phones -- even with hands-free devices -- in their cars.
"Some were complaining that they had just purchased hands-free devices and now they can't use them," one source told Radar. "They're worried this will hurt them from doing their jobs. Some employees talk on the phone while drive because they are under deadlines and their jobs are not 9-to-5."
The pledge was not mandatory, but like any office politics the employees felt pressured. "It was pretty clear to everyone that it would not be good to resist signing it," one insider said. "You don't mess with Oprah."
Oprah's pledge, which she's encouraged the public to apply, reads like this: "I pledge to make my car a No Phone Zone. Beginning right now, I will do my part to help put an end to distracted driving by not texting or using my phone while I am driving. I will ask other drivers I know to do the same. I pledge to make a difference."
As many people have pointed out, including in comments on this blog, it's likely easier for a very rich, often limo-driven celebrity to bark about the dangers of this problem.
What do you think? Have dictates of your boss ever crossed over into your personal life?
Oprah Winfrey announced on her show Thursday that Walgreens will offer free blood-glucose screenings today for Type 2 diabetes at all of its 24-hour pharmacies and at its Take Care Clinics from 11 a.m. to 7 tonight.
Anyone 18 or older can get the finger-stick screenings. No appointment is needed.
The Walgreens clinics will also offer free glucose testing through the end of February from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays and noon to 4 p.m. on weekends.
Winfrey devoted her show Thursday to diabetes. Nearly 24 million Americans have diabetes, which is caused by the body's inability to adequately break down sugar in the blood. Blacks and Hispanics have especially high rates of the disease.
Leave it to the synergy genius of Oprah & Co. to find a way for the daytime talk queen to be in two places at once.
Oprah's new cable network debuts next January. But her daytime talk show will run through September 2011, and her talk show contract forbids her to appear in another talk show on the cable network until the original gig ends. So does that mean we won't see Oprah on the Oprah Winfrey Network for its first nine months?
Of course not. In fact, not only will she be the promotional face of OWN as it launches, but the New York Times reports today that one of OWN's first shows will be a reality show ... about the end of "The Oprah Winfrey Show."
"Behind the Scenes: Oprah's 25th Season" will begin airing on OWN when the network starts in January.
Says the NYT:
Christina Norman, the chief executive of OWN, said in a telephone interview that "Behind the Scenes" was, "the thing that everybody wants to see, in some ways: How does it get made? What happens when it goes wrong and what happens when it goes right?"
She said the producers would compile the weekly episodes as quickly as possible. Ms. Winfrey will share her memories about her talk show in "Behind the Scenes."
Four other OWN shows are being announced today:
"Kid-napped," in which children rescue allegedly workaholic parents
"Miracle Detectives," in which spiritual skeptics investigate such matters with believers
"Sentenced," which chronicles a women's prison in Indiana
"Search," in which a woman finds long-lost family members
So let me tell you a quick something about me, the guy who (by default) writes most of this O blog. I am one of the many who claims to be on Team Coco. But my reasons for that have absolutely nothing to do with liking his performance on "The Tonight Show." I didn't. I've never found the guy that funny, when he took over Letterman's gig or when he got Leno's. I have no objections to him and his comedy, by any means, I just am more of a Letterman kinda guy and have been since I was a teenager staying up late waiting for Dave to put on the Alka-Seltzer suit.
Full disclosure: Never watched Leno, either. He's brutish and broad and way too common-denominator for me on a regular basis. Which is exactly why he killed in the "Tonight Show" ratings all those years. He's got a line on the heartland funny bone. And, sad though it may seem to some, he'll most likely kill again when he returns to "Tonight" on March 1. Or at least by summer when we (thankfully) forget about this nonsense.
I'm breaking the fourth wall here because I'm confident that I'm like most of the people who also jumped onto Conan's bandwagon -- like the 94 percent who claimed they were "on his side" of this dreadful Jay-Conan melee in a poll on Oprah.com. If everyone who claims to be on Team Coco had actually watched the show, none of this would be happening. But we didn't, really. Jay failed at 9, and Conan failed at 10:30, and we at least had a cat-fight to entertain us as NBC did what corporations do to protect their bottom line.
So why, if I wasn't necessarily a fan, did I and others chose sides? Two reasons: 1. Everyone loves the underdog, and 2. Leno -- as evidenced in today's chat with Oprah -- has proven himself to be pretty selfish, even if it's kinda understandable.
Throughout today's interview on "The Oprah Winfrey Show," Jay sounded like he was running for something in Tuesday's Illinois primary. Three times he referred to job creation and saving jobs. When Oprah asked him point-blank if he ever thought he was being selfish by reclaiming "The Tonight Show," that was his defense: He had to save the jobs of his staff. But that wasn't his first answer to the question. He initially said, "I like the job and all that comes with it."
When we get down and wallow in the sometimes unpleasant truths of human nature, who can blame the guy? He's right: For the first time in about 60 years, "The Tonight Show," under Conan's brief watch, was on its way to losing money. And Jay appears to be quite sincere when he says he had no idea that NBC would turn to him and offer a return to "Tonight." ("Nowhere in my wildest dreams did I think they'd ask me to go back," he told Oprah.) He's no fool: He took it. And while we wish he was somehow nobler, he's not. Conan himself said it's the best job in the world, and today Jay said the same. He almost had a shaky junkie's look in his eye. Primetime was methadone for him, but now he's got the good stuff again. Ahhhhh.
Oprah, to her credit, pushed him a little near the end. She and Jay go way back; she wasn't exactly Mike Wallace, of course, but she did have the courage to pursue the sticking point that brought so many of us fair-weather fans over to Team Coco.
Oprah: Didn't you think you were the reason [for Conan's departure]? Jay: No, I wasn't the reason. The reason was the ratings. ... I'm not sure what I could've done differently. Oprah: [somewhat incredulous] Lots! You could've walked away! Jay: To me, that's the ego. To say, "OK, I'm outta here."
That's his rationalization: It would have been more obnoxious for him to walk away with his nose in the air than to be what he sees as a loyal employee and go back to doing what made the bosses so happy. Again, who can blame him? An extremely powerful network came to him with supplications, on their knees, saying, "We screwed up. You da man." In addition, he's the hero, saving jobs. "It's a team effort," he said of his staff. "As long as I'm working, they're working." (Which Conan realized, too, which is why he made sure his staff was ably covered in the massive severance from NBC.) Much earlier in the conversation, Oprah asked Jay if he ever considered saying no to NBC. Without an instant of hesitation, he answered, "No."
"I always thought I was doing the right thing," he added.
The only aspect of this interview that rose to the level of poignancy was the fact that Oprah was doing it. She just announced she's quitting her show. She recognized some appropriate exit point and will wave a triumphant farewell next year after 25 years on TV. She expressed some of what's going through her mind about this looming threshold: "Who am I without a TV show when I've had one for 25 years?" she said she's begun asking herself.
Jay laughed off her departure, though, appearing not to believe that she'll actually go through with it. "I'm not going anywhere, neither are you," he said, claiming that they'd both keep on forever. ("If you're a gunfighter, you like to die in the street," he said -- his second fighting metaphor of the interview.) Oprah was amazed. "You don't believe I'll do it?" she said of leaving her show. Jay smirked: "I believe that you believe it."
Details are emerging about Jay Leno's salvation-seeking chat with Oprah, which airs Thursday (9 a.m. in Chicago on WLS-Channel 7).
First, he describes NBC's recent switcheroo -- canceling his primetime show, yanking Conan O'Brien from "The Tonight Show" and reinstalling Leno there -- as "a huge mess." That's the only quote from Jay shown in this teaser ad from Harpo.
Oprah is also seen asking Jay whether he ever considered he was just being selfish. Cut to a shot of Jay looking pained. (Who knows if that's fancy editing or an actual reaction shot.)
Then, AP reports that Leno tells Oprah he hasn't even spoken to Conan throughout this whole mess. "It didn't seem appropriate" to do so, he says, but the two might talk later: "I don't know. I think it -- let things cool down and maybe we'll talk, you know."
Leno adds that he didn't take the jokes against him personally: "They were jokes. And that's OK," he says in this report of the show. "It's what we do, you know? You can't -- it's like being a fighter and say when you got punched in the head, did it hurt? Well, yeah. But you're a fighter. That's what you do."
Leno is scheduled to return to "Tonight" on March 1.
Harpo has made an offer for Conan to appear on Oprah's show, but it hasn't been confirmed. He's allegedly forbidden to give interviews for several months under the terms of his severance from NBC.
Apropos of maybe nothing: Here's a snippet of video from mid-2009 in which Jay and Oprah chat about who Jay would take with him to a desert island: Conan or Letterman. And he picks ...
Jay Leno and Oprah Winfrey celebrate the 50th anniversary of "The Tonight Show" in 2004.(NBC)
Word is: Jay Leno wants to go on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" to tidy up his tarnished image.
The appearance could happen as early as next week, according to the report this morning in The New York Post.
"Oprah and Jay love each other," a source told the Post, suggesting that Oprah will play nice with the beaten-down talk-show host. "They talk constantly."
"We're still discussing it," an NBC representative said of the idea.
A lotta folks, from fellow talk-show hosts David Letterman and Jimmy Kimmel to pundits and bloggers, have been piling on Leno for acquiescing to NBC's plan -- yanking Conan O'Brien from "The Tonight Show" after only seven months and returning Leno to that post after his spectacular failure in primetime.
But don't look for Oprah to make peace between Leno and Conan on the show. The deal he signed to leave NBC mandates that he stay off TV -- and can't give any interviews -- until late this summer.
UPDATE: It's set. Jay Leno will be on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" this Thursday, Jan. 28.
The next musical star to appear on Oprah: Susan Boyle, this Tuesday.
She'll be performing "Who I Was Born to Be," a song written especially for her and that appeared on her debut album. That album's run at the top of the British charts was just cut short by Ke$ha's "Animal."
Here's hoping she behaves herself in Chicago. As she prepared to fly to America for the Oprah appearance, she ... er, acted a little strange at the London airport. The Daily Mail explains:
"Britain's Got Talent" star Susan Boyle shocked passengers at London's Heathrow Airport after she started shouting obscenities and singing into a mop.
The singer ... suddenly grabbed the mop from a cleaner and began to treat it as a makeshift microphone.
During the bizarre outburst she also used the mop to polish passengers' shoes, according to onlookers at the VIP lounge on Tuesday.
Complaints were made to British Airways staff, who tried to calm her down but instead she fled the Terminal 5 lounge, yelling, "I've escaped, I've escaped!"
A source told the Sun: "It was chaos. Susan was very restless and agitated from the minute she walked in and immediately started making a scene. She was singing and dancing around, shouting obscenities at full volume."
Has our dear Susan become savvy enough in the ways of celebrity PR to act loony in order to get, well, write-ups like this? Maybe she's just a free spirit. Or maybe she's certifiable. Oprah will, no doubt, get to the bottom of it.
The appearance was taped earlier this week. Here are some quotes from Susan's chat with O:
"Pretty awesome to be recognized in the street and asked for autographs. I'm getting quite a few fan letters and cards from around the globe. I'm loving every second of it."
"It takes a bit of time to take in because it happened so quickly. I'm really enjoying every second of it. It's like a dream come true."
"My mom died two years ago. After that there was a wee period where I didn't sing. You try and keep going through that pain and that's what I try to do with my singing. I am very slowly getting over it. One of the reasons I applied to the TV show was to see if I could perform in front of an audience."
Lady Gaga canceled a concert Thursday night, claiming illness -- and yet there she was live on Oprah today, looking perfectly fine.
Thursday night's show at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind., was canceled -- after the opening acts had already performed! -- "due to exhaustion and dehydration." Lad Gaga tweeted an explanation later: "An hour before the show I was feeling dizzy and having trouble breathing." The performance has been rescheduled for Jan. 26.
This morning, though, she looked perfectly hydrated and spunky -- with spiky toothpick hair --as she performed a medley of her hits on Oprah's weekly like Friday show. She was even healthy enough to swing a gold, spiked ball on a chain into the windshield of a taxi on the stage.
"I am so devastated," she continued on Twitter, discussing the cancelation. "I have performed with the flu, a cold, strep throat: I would never cancel a show just based on discomfort. I hope you can forgive me. I love my little monsters more than anything, you are everything to me."
UPDATE: There's been some debate online and elsewhere about whether Lady Gaga's performance on Oprah this morning was live or pre-taped. (An earlier MTV report here claims the appearance would be pre-taped.) A rep at Harpo this afternoon, however, confirmed to us that the performance was live and occurred today.