A New York Times piece profiling Oprah Winfrey “at a crossroads” — meaning, speaking to loyal and adoring fans at a Los Angeles convention while plotting the future of her OWN network and the possible end of a print version of O, the Oprah Magazine — revealed one piece of news unfamiliar to those who have watched the media mogul’s post-talk-show career developments.
Audience members — including Winfrey’s best friend, Gayle — were surprised to learn that the guest of honor had a recent “scare” with breast cancer, the Times reports:
Ms. Winfrey, 58, has shown some signs of strain. She arrived at the conference with faint shadows under her eyes and announced to her best friend, Gayle King, and the audience simultaneously that she had a breast cancer scare the week before. (It was ultimately a false alarm.) When Ms. King grew visibly upset, one woman chided Ms. Winfrey for not telling her friend ahead of time and ordered her to apologize to Ms. King — all before an audience.
The health scare wasn’t the only thing Winfrey discussed having to overcome. At the top of the list, in fact, was criticism from the press, which she said “tried to cut me off at the knees” in its coverage of OWN:
“I don’t care what the form is,” Ms. Winfrey said with the conviction of a preacher. “I care about what the message is.”
With signs of progress at OWN, Ms. Winfrey now has more time to devote to other media platforms — her magazine, her radio channel on XM Satellite Radio, her Facebook page, which has 7.8 million subscribers, her Twitter account, which has nearly 15 million followers, and her latest content channel on The Huffington Post.
“It’s all an opportunity to speak to people,” Ms. Winfrey said as she sat for an interview during the conference, a pair of glittery gold stilettos slung in her hand and a couple of handlers in the corner quietly tapping away at smartphones. She pushed aside a bottle of sparkling water, a glass with a silver straw and a delicate orchid placed before her and spoke frankly about her plans.
“Ultimately, you have to make money because you are a business. I let other people worry about that. I worry about the message … “