Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Oprah’s OWN: What Happened to Kirstie Alley, Eckhart Tolle?

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Oprah Winfrey has launched her OWN Network and even announced a new show, with financial advisor Suze Orman, for later this year.

But what happened to her 2008 deal with Kirstie Alley?

And where is Eckhart Tolle? Two years ago Oprah turned over her almost all her resources to the jabbering new age bestselling author of gobbledy-gook. She even ran internet seminars via Skype with Tolle where she gushed over him like he was a saint.

At the TCA’s yesterday in Pasadena, our Randee Dawn got to ask OWN’s Christina Norman about these Oprah favorites. Norman denied that there have ever been deals with either Alley or Tolle, or even former CBS Distribution guru and onetime Harpo worker Terry Wood — that he would be coming to the network.

Here’s Randee’s report on the OWN presentation:

It was a strange mix of slate presentation – Norman introduced three
of the net’s new series before the Queen of All Media took the stage
solo – and drinking of the Kool-Aid. Permutations of being your “best
possible self” emerged from everyone, from Gayle King (who will bring
The Gayle King Show to the network as a live, five-day-a-week gabfest)
to the ten finalists on the Mark Burnett-produced Your OWN Show, which will give a six-episode series guarantee to the winner, selected from thousands of amateurs and semi-pros around the country.

Even Burnett is in on it: When asked why he’d contribute his time and
reputation to an untested network, he said, “If Oprah had asked me to
ride a unicycle naked backwards at night, I’d have said where and when.”

It’s fortunate that Oprah and her minions at least intend to do good –
but it’s also a little spooky at times; the Republicans and Fox News
have nothing on her people for pushing talking points.

At last Oprah took the stage, dressed casually in various hues of
purple, taking a seat in a comfy white chair. (Meanwhile, as she
talked for the next three-quarters of an hour, Norman stood
continuously nearby, really wanting to pee and considering taking a seat on the edge of the stage – as she noted later.)
She fed off of
the audience’s energy and despite the potential hostility of the crowd
managed to catch a lot of softball questions, spending at least 15
minutes answering what her dreams and hopes have been.

She’s creating “mindful television” which can be on all day in your
home and never give you a reason to stay up at night. There’s
something to be said for all this positivism: “The intention of this
channel is to bring good energy, no matter what the programming is”
and “ratings … aren’t as important to me now as they might be to
[experts].”

On the other hand, there’s a fine line between positivism,
treacle and pabulum: Without a little frisson, we all go dead inside.
But maybe that’s just the cynical New Yorker in me.

In the end, not a lot got said but a lot of good feelings were shared.
And in the end, Oprah left the stage while Norman – who later denied
that any deals were in the works with rumored names like Kirstie Alley
and Eckhart Tolle, or that – got a chance
to use the facilities.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedmanhttps://www.showbiz411.com
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.
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