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OPRAH’S CAMP DENIES DC HOUSE HUNT December 23, 2008

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Rumors of Oprah Winfrey looking for property in Washington D.C. to be closer to the Obama White House have been shot down by her reps, according to TMZ.com.

 

      The New York Post reported that Winfrey was eyeing “a nine-bedroom Georgetown mansion” listed at $50 million. But according to TMZ, “Oprah’s peeps tell us [there’s] no truth to this at all.

 

       “In fact, some D.C. real estate sources say there’s exactly one house in the District even approaching that price — an estate called Evermay — and Oprah hasn’t looked at it.”      

       Winfrey will record two shows at the Kennedy Center next month while she’s in town for the inauguration.

 

PETA NAMES OPRAH ‘PERSON OF THE YEAR’ December 22, 2008

Filed under: Entertainment — Ryann Hayman @ 9:40 am
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People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has named Oprah Winfrey its “Person of the Year” for using her “powerful voice to defend those without one,” according to PETA President Ingrid E. Newkirk.      

       “She has used her show to uncover horrific cases of cruelty to animals in puppy mills and on factory farms, and Oprah even used the show to highlight the cruelty-free vegan diet that she tried,” PETA wrote on its Web site.       

       The Norfolk, Va.-based animal rights group says it will send Winfrey an award plaque and a letter of appreciation.      

Leona Lewis

       Meanwhile, we erroneously reported earlier that Leona Lewis was crowned PETA’s “Person of the Year,” when in fact, she was voted “Sexiest Celebrity Vegetarian Alive,” along with Anthony Keidis of the Red Hot Chili Peppers.      

       “I am vegetarian so I don’t have clothes, shoes or bags made from leather or suede or any animal products. … I’m on a mission,” she says.

 

OPRAH’S HARPO REACHES DEAL WITH HBO December 17, 2008

Filed under: Entertainment — Ryann Hayman @ 10:48 am
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Oprah Winfrey’s production company has entered into a new and exclusive three-year deal with HBO to develop movies and miniseries, reports Variety.

 

       After working with ABC for 15 years, Winfrey’s Harpo Films decided to do business with the cable network, where Winfrey expects to develop a more eclectic mix of programming than was featured on the more positive-leaning ABC.      

       “ABC was always incredibly supportive of us, but there are natural limitations to being on network TV, part of that being ratings and commercial sponsorship,” said Harpo Films president Kate Forte. “It just seemed like a natural progression to meet with HBO, especially after the strong message I’ve been getting (from Winfrey) for the last year and a half that a lot of our projects seemed right for HBO.”      

       According to HBO co-president Richard Plepler, the pact was made without any specific development in mind. “I don’t think the number of ideas will be a problem,” he said. “The question will be, ‘How can we do everything?'”

 

       Adds Michael Lombardo, president of HBO’s programming group and West Coast operations: “We generally don’t have a lot of overall deals with producers with whom we don’t have current shows. But when we met Kate and Oprah, it was obvious that this was the right deal to make.”      

      It hasn’t been discussed whether Winfrey would act in any of the projects.

 

OPRAH ‘EMBARRASED’ BY HER WEIGHT GAIN December 10, 2008

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In the January issue of “O” magazine, Oprah Winfrey comes clean about her weight gain – saying she has “fallen off the wagon” in terms of healthy living and currently weighs 200 pounds.      

       “I’m mad at myself,” Winfrey writes in an article provided early to The Associated Press by Harpo Productions. “I’m embarrassed. I can’t believe that after all these years, all the things I know how to do, I’m still talking about my weight. I look at my thinner self and think, `How did I let this happen again?'”      

       In the “O” issue, out Tuesday, Winfrey writes about her recently-diagnosed thyroid condition that has made her develop “a fear of working out.” She says she’s added 40 pounds to her frame since she weighed 160 pounds in 2006.       

       “Yes, you’re adding correctly; that means the dreaded 2-0-0,” Winfrey writes “I was so frustrated I started eating whatever I wanted — and that’s never good.”      

       In the “O” article, Winfrey writes that she hit rock bottom when she wanted to skip out on an April 26 taping with Cher and Tina Turner in Las Vegas.      

       “I felt like a fat cow,” Winfrey writes. “I wanted to disappear.”      

       Winfrey writes that her goal is no longer to be thin; instead, she wants to be strong, healthy and fit. The new goal comes 20 years after she famously wheeled a wagon loaded with fat onto the set of her talk show to represent a 67-pound weight loss while wearing a pair of size 10 Calvin Klein jeans. She had lost the pounds with a liquid protein diet.      

       “I had literally starved myself for four months — not a morsel of food,” Winfrey recalled in 2005. “Two hours after that show, I started eating to celebrate — of course, within two days those jeans no longer fit!”      

       Winfrey’s weight has fluctuated wildly ever since, ballooning to as much as 237 pounds. By late 1990, she admitted she had regained most of the 67 pounds, saying “I’ll never diet again.”      

       In 1994, she trained for and completed the Marine Corps Marathon and by 1996 hired her trainer Bob Greene and proclaimed that her weight saga was over.      

       Winfrey’s current weight and height put her body mass index at 31.8, which is obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC says people who are obese are “at higher risk for chronic conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol.”      

       Winfrey says she hopes to turn things around with the Jan. 5 launch of her “Best Life Week” on “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” where she is expected to talk about her recent weight gain. She’ll take an all-hands-on-deck approach to the issue by featuring Greene and Dr. Mehmet Oz to her show during the first week of January, as well as spirituality experts, sex therapists and financial expert Suze Orman.      

       Winfrey also is expected to discuss her weight on her XM satellite radio station’s “The Gayle King Show” on Jan. 5 and will host interactive live Web casts at Oprah.com the week of Jan. 12 to 16 every night at 9 p.m. EST.       

       Winfrey, an admitted food addict, sounds almost apologetic in her article.       

       “I definitely wasn’t setting an example,” she writes. “I was talking the talk, but I wasn’t walking the walk. And that was very disappointing to me.”

 

TYRA, OPRAH, TYLER AMONG TV’S ‘SMARTEST’ December 9, 2008

Filed under: Entertainment — Ryann Hayman @ 2:09 pm
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Whoopi Goldberg, Tyra Banks, Oprah Winfrey and Tyler Perry appear on Entertainment Weekly’s 25 Smartest People in TV, a list of small-screen titans who are driving today’s sharpest shows and deals.

 

       Goldberg and her co-hosts on “The View” were listed at No. 25.5 for “juicing their ratings by pumping up their political banter.”  During election week, “The View” reached No. 1 in total daytime viewers for the first time in 12 seasons.

 

       Banks, 35, ranked No. 23 on the list. EW noted, “She’s still in the running towards becoming America’s next top TV mogul. Her talk show (moving from syndication to The CW next fall) has the youngest median age in daytime, and ‘America’s Next Top Model,’ which just completed its 11th cycle, remains The CW’s highest-rated series. (Spin-off ‘Operation Fabulous’ launches next year.) Now the Emmy winner is developing other reality projects that fit the Banks ‘brand,’ like ABC’s upcoming ‘True Beauty,’ and she recently branched into film with the direct-to-DVD tween drama ‘The Clique.'”     

       Winfrey came in 6th on the tally because “her talk show still rules daytime, her first foray into reality (‘Oprah’s Big Give’) averaged 11.6 million viewers, and she’ll launch her own network — appropriately named OWN — in 2009,” said EW. “Her production company, Harpo, responsible for daytime hits ‘Dr. Phil’ and ‘Rachael Ray,’ will debut a new series next fall with Oprah staple Dr. Mehmet Oz. All this and she was funny on 30 Rock (‘Sweater capes!’).”

 

       Atlanta-based mogul Perry ranked 4th for proving that “one need not exist within the borders of Hollywood to become an industry heavyweight. Through his Tyler Perry Studios, he created and produced ‘Tyler Perry’s House of Payne’ — and persuaded TBS to buy 90 additional episodes in 2006 after a 10-show run earned major ratings. Then in August, he struck a deal with the cable net to produce a new sitcom, ‘Meet the Browns,’ based on his hit play and movie. The biggest sign of his growing success? This fall, Perry ditched his 70,000-square-foot studio for a twice-the-size production complex in Atlanta, which includes five soundstages and a backlot.”      

       Seth MacFarlane, the executive producer of “Family Guy,” “American Dad” and the forthcoming “The Cleveland Show,” topped the list. EW noted: “The apple-faced prankster secured a full-season order for a ‘Guy’ spin-off called ‘The Cleveland Show,’ and he still manages to find time to shoot his Cavalcade of Cartoon Comedy Web shorts (and animated ads) for a separate deal with Google. With Guy reruns airing approximately 20 hours a week on various networks, it’s no wonder MacFarlane is now the highest-paid writer in TV.

 

OPRAH’S SCHOOL FUNDED BY MCCAIN SUPPORTER December 3, 2008

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Fox411 columnist Roger Friedman is reporting that Oprah Winfrey, an outspoken supporter of Barack Obama, “accepted at least $5 million” for her girls school in South Africa from Harold Simmons.”       

       Simmons is described by Friedman as a “Dallas billionaire” and “a leading Republican donor and supporter of John McCain.”      

       “This past August it was revealed that Simmons was the single donor to a 527 committee called American Issues Project,” wrote Freidman in his Tuesday column. “Its only issue: to run ads linking Obama to William Ayers, the political activist who was once part of the Weather Underground. Simmons paid $2.9 million to try and make Ayers the Obama campaign’s ‘Swift Boat,’ an issue that might have sidelined permanently the Illinois senator’s chances and advance John McCain — Simmons’s candidate — to the White House.      

       “Nevertheless, Winfrey has cultivated her friendship with Simmons on many social fronts since 2001, resulting in his being second only to her in donating funds to her Leadership Academy in Johannesburg, South Africa.      

       “According to the 2006 federal tax filing for the Oprah Winfrey Operating Fund, Winfrey accepted a $1 million donation to the school from Simmons. That amount, The Dallas Morning News reported in 2007, was only part of a $5 million pledge to the Academy. Simmons is considered Dallas’s leading philanthropist to worthy causes. In this case, though, it might have been unnecessary, since Winfrey herself has donated over $60 million to the school.”      

       Continue reading Friedman’s column here 

 

OPRAH WINFREY TO HELP HONOR SUSAN TAYLOR December 2, 2008

 

Oprah Winfrey is among a number of celebrities due in New York tonight for a benefit honoring Susan L. Taylor, editor-in-chief of Essence magazine.

 

      Sean “Diddy” Combs, Terry McMillan and Ruby Dee will also attend the gala, which celebrates Taylor’s 37 years with the magazine targeted to African-American women.

 

      Tonight will also serve as a fundraiser for the National CARES Mentoring Movement, which is dedicated to pairing vulnerable African-American children with a caring mentor. The organization, founded by Taylor as Essence CARES, currently operates in more than 50 U.S. states.

 

       Gospel stars Yolanda Adams and Donnie McClurkin are scheduled to perform. Other notable attendees will include Michael Eric Dyson, Common and the Rev. Al Sharpton.