Return to Transcripts main page


SHOWBIZ TONIGHT Special Event: Oprah`s Final Farewell

Aired May 25, 2011 - 23:00:00   ET


A.J. HAMMER, HOST: Tonight, a SHOWBIZ TONIGHT special event - Oprah`s final farewell today. And we go one-on-one with all of Oprah`s all-stars. I`m A.J. Hammer. This is SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. Oprah says goodbye -


OPRAH WINFREY, HOST, "THE OPRAH WINFREY SHOW": I won`t say goodbye. I`ll just say until we meet again.


HAMMER: Tonight, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT is in Chicago for Oprah`s final show. And only we are bringing you Oprah`s all-stars tonight. Our revealing SHOWBIZ TONIGHT newsmaker interviews. We are one-on-one with Dr. Oz, Dr. Phil and Suze Orman.


SUZE ORMAN, FINANCIAL GURU: People watch "The Oprah Winfrey Show," not for the entertainment, not for the celebrities. They watch because what they`re going to learn on that show has transformed their lives.


HAMMER: But wait, there`s more. I go one-on-one with - I guess I can call you an Oprah family member, Nate Berkus.


HAMMER: Am I going to make you cry?

BERKUS: You might.


BERKUS: We`ll see. Go light, OK?


HAMMER: And our SHOWBIZ Flashpoint tonight, will there ever be another Oprah? Tonight, a SHOWBIZ special event, Oprah`s final farewell.


Hello. I`m A.J. Hammer, coming to you from New York City and this is a SHOWBIZ TONIGHT special event, Oprah`s final farewell.

And I have to tell it seemed almost surreal today to actually hear Oprah Winfrey said goodbye on her very last show after 25 years of being such an intimate and powerful part of our lives.

And in this hour, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT is covering Oprah`s farewell like no other entertainment news show as we bring you Oprah`s all-stars, Dr. Phil, Dr. Oz, Nate Berkus, Suze Orman, all going one-on-one with us in headline- making, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT newsmaker interviews.

But we begin where it all ended today - Chicago and Oprah`s final show. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT`s Kareen Wynter is in Chicago tonight.

And Kareen, you have been there every step of the way with Oprah through all of her final shows. We won`t soon forget what we saw today, will we?

KAREEN WYNTER, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT CORRESPONDENT: We certainly won`t, A.J. It was an historic moment. Oprah did not disappoint. And unlike the star- studded shows that we saw leading up to the finale, today there was just one star, Oprah Winfrey.


WINFREY: I won`t say goodbye. I`ll just say until we meet again. To God be the glory.

WYNTER (voice-over): With those words, Oprah Winfrey stepped off the stage and into TV history with today`s finale of "The Oprah Winfrey Show."

WINFREY: I thank you all for your support and your trust in me.

WYNTER: Unlike the rock concert vibe of the previous two Oprah shows that featured star after star after star and surprise after surprise after surprise, today`s Oprah finale is striking in what it lacked.

KELLI ZINK, HOST, "CELEBTV.COM": If you`re expecting celebrities even in the audience and lights and flashes, that`s not going to happen. . It was just Oprah on stage the entire time.

WINFREY: You will not be getting a car a treat -

WYNTER: Instead, Oprah`s goodbye was incredibly simple, nostalgic and personal.

WINFREY: I wanted to spend this last hour telling you what you have meant in my life, what we`ve learned together in this classroom called "The Oprah Winfrey Show."

WYNTER: If the Oprah Winfrey show was the classroom, as she said, then her finale was a commencement speech full of trademark Oprah wisdom.

WINFREY: Nobody but you is responsible for your life. All the energy that you spend trying to hurt somebody else, that energy will turn around and slap you in the face. The same thing is true of love. Use your life to serve the world.

WYNTER: With a sermon mixed in -

WINFREY: God is love. And God is life.

WYNTER: The finale of the Oprah Winfrey show was also a nostalgic look back. She shared funny memories of her very humble TV beginning

WINFREY: As you can see from my first day on AM Chicago at WLS, there was no hair and makeup team. Just a Jheri curl and bad fur coat.

WYNTER: As well as a more serious look back at her own journey.

WINFREY: I`m truly amazed that I, who started out in rural Mississippi in 1954 when the vision for a black girl was limited to be either a maid or a teacher in a segregated school, could end up here.

WYNTER: Oprah took the time to highlight an issue that`s become a sad but powerful part of her own story, the sexual abuse of children.

ZINK: For Oprah, who was a victim of sexual abuse, that was kind of full circle for her to say, "People, you`ve changed my life."

WYNTER: In fact, Oprah revealed that talking about sexual abuse on her show helped her come to terms with her own ordeal.

WINFREY: I finally realized, like so many of you, it really wasn`t my fault.

WYNTER: But for everything the Oprah finale was - commencement speech, sermon, nostalgic look back - her last show was mostly what she promised it would be, a big thank you that at times got emotional.

WINFREY: It is no coincidence this a lonely little girl, who felt not a lot of love, even though my parents and grandparents did the best they could, it is no coincidence I grew up to feel genuine kindness, affection, trust and validation from millions of you all over the world.

From you whose names I will never know, I learned what love is. You and this show have been the great love of my life. And I thank you for being as much of a sweet inspiration for me as I tried to be for you.

WYNTER: And as Oprah moved off the stage kissing her long-time boyfriend, Stedman Graham, embracing staffers backstage and finally carrying her dog and walking away, she left a show that enriched and healed millions of people, including its host.


HAMMER: Kareen, thanks so much. Kareen will be back with us from Chicago this entire hour. She`s coming back with her revealing one-on-one SHOWBIZ TONIGHT newsmaker interview with Dr. Phil. So Kareen, we`ll see you again in just a bit.

But before we get to Dr. Phil, another one of Oprah`s all-stars who was Oprah`s style star, Nate Berkus, of course. He`s the guy who, for years, just wowed Oprah and her audiences with his incredible home makeovers and easy design tips.

Tonight he`s paying tribute to his dear friend. And in my SHOWBIZ TONIGHT newsmaker interview with Nate, we talked about his memorable first appearance on Oprah`s show. And he also revealed to me an unbelievable moment he shared with Oprah at one of the darkest times in his life.


HAMMER: Certainly, you know, everybody knows your name now. You`re a big time TV star, Nate.

BERKUS: I don`t know if I would say that.

HAMMER: It`s a little different from back in 2002 when you made your first appearance on "The Oprah Winfrey Show."


HAMMER: And she had you makeover this 319 square foot apartment in Boston. You remember that?

BERKUS: I`ll never forget it. I`ll never forget it.

HAMMER: Let`s take a little look.


WINFREY: Claudia`s tiny studio which had no storage is now an innovative home with space to spare.


WINFREY: Nate, my god! That is - that`s the best damn job I ever saw.

BERKUS: Thank you.

WINFREY: Oh, my goodness! That`s Nate Berkus, people. Remember that name.


HAMMER: Yes. And we remembered your name, all right. Here you are. And seriously, could you have imagined back then in 2002 that you would be where you are now because of Oprah Winfrey?

BERKUS: No. And actually, A.J., I`m so not strategic like that. The first time I walked out - that we just watched. The first time I walked out on Oprah`s stage, I had no conception of what that could possibly mean, what the evolution of my career in television or entertainment or even in design would mean.

But, you know, I look back at that moment, there`s that moment where I`m just grinning because Oprah hadn`t seen that makeover before that moment. She doesn`t screen anything before she looks at it when the audience sees it.

So it was that expression. I look at that expression on myself. I was so psyched. It was just the best moment because I could see how much she loved what I had done, how excited she was and how a door was sort of opening for me to do what I love more than anything else in the world, be that guy that rings the doorbell and something good is going to happen.

And I was going to do that in front of millions of people and there`s nothing better than that.

HAMMER: And she`s been a terrific friend to you, not just for what she has done for you in your life with your own show and all of your participation in "The Oprah Winfrey Show." But we really saw, you know, such a poignant moment back in 2004 after you survived the tsunami in Sri Lanka.

BERKUS: Absolutely.

HAMMER: We watched her comfort you on "The Oprah Winfrey show." But how was she a friend to you when the cameras weren`t rolling? Because I know she was there for you beyond what we saw.

BERKUS: Well, absolutely. I mean, I came back from Asia. I had spent 10 days there looking for my boyfriend who died in the tsunami, and his body was never found.

And I came back and I was, you know, medicated. And there was a therapist in my house and a physician to check to see if I had caught any diseases when I was there. And you know, my family was all waiting for me.

And there was a knock on the door and Oprah came in and she said, "You know, I`m here. And no hair, no make-up - let`s talk. I want to hear what happened from - just from you."

And we went into my bedroom and climbed into my bed and the two of us sat there. And I told her exactly what had happened. And she watched me tell that story.

And one of the things that I think is the most - is so special about Oprah Winfrey is her empathy. And she said so many times on TV all pain is the same. Somebody could survive a tsunami. Somebody could survive what`s going on in Missouri.

Whatever it is, you lose a loved one - cancer, whatever it is you go through in life, the pain feels the same. And she knew that. And so when I went back on the show three weeks after the tsunami, what she was able to do is, through the Angel Network and viewers of the Oprah show, we practically rebuilt the town where Fernando and I were.

And that to me is what a family is about. That`s why it`s sad for me that the show is ending because it`s a family. It`s a family that lives in a house and there`s producers and there`s Oprah and there`s me and there`s all the people that we`ve worked with for all these years. And Oprah to me is family.


HAMMER: Remarkable story. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT is bringing you more SHOWBIZ newsmaker interviews with Oprah`s all-stars, Dr. Oz, Suze Orman and Dr. Phil.


DR. PHIL MCGRAW, PSYCHOLOGIST: People ask me all the time, "Is Oprah as nice and sweet as her image is on television?" And I say -


HAMMER: You do not want to miss this. But wait, there`s more. The SHOWBIZ Flashpoint, will there ever be another Oprah?

Brand-new info tonight about the frontrunners to replace her - Nate Berkus, Dr. Phil, even CNN`s own Anderson Cooper. That`s coming up. This is a SHOWBIZ special event, Oprah`s final farewell, on HLN.


MADONNA, POP STAR: She`s just all heart. I mean, she`s an incredible woman. The great thing about Oprah is even if you don`t know her personally, you feel like you know her personally. And that`s, you know, a talent that she has. You know, she`s very accessible.

WINFREY: You get a car, you get a car, you get a car, everybody gets a car!




SHERRI SHEPHERD, CO-HOST, "THE VIEW": I got my hair in my bag but I took it out. And I have my Vitamin B pills.


SHEPHERD: I have my lip gloss because I kiss my fiance all the time.


HAMMER: Another SHOWBIZ memorable Oprah moment. The ladies of "The View" on "The Oprah Show" getting very personal there.

Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. It is the SHOWBIZ special event, Oprah`s final farewell. I`m A.J. Hammer in New York.

And tonight, touched by Oprah. You know, over her 25 years of "The Oprah Show," I think we can all say that in one way or another, we`ve been touched by the queen of talk.

With me, right now, view co-host and the host of the Game Show Network, "The Newlywed Game," the great Sherri Shepherd is joining me for a SHOWBIZ newsmaker interview to share how she has been touched by Oprah.

And you told me a great story backstage. I had no idea. You were in Oprah`s audience long before we ever knew your name?

SHEPHERD: Yes, when I was a struggling comic 10 years ago to the day I was on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in the audience as a guest -


SHEPHERD: Talking about what? Men cheating on their women. And then I raised my hand and Oprah came to me and she passed the microphone and I had a comment. I was a guest.

HAMMER: How about that? And read what you tweeted recently that ever since you were a legal secretary, you wanted to be a guest on her stage.

SHEPHERD: I`ve always - yes.

HAMMER: And you got that opportunity, Sherri.

SHEPHERD: It was a dream come true.

HAMMER: Yes. We just saw you with the ladies of "The View." I mean, you guys have, you know, one of the biggest shows on TV. But I have to imagine that was just a pinnacle moment being there for you.

SHEPHERD: It was. You know, Oprah Winfrey is so many things to so many people. She gives a lot of people hope. And like my girlfriend who is a comic, says, "Oprah made it OK for black people to go to therapy, because black folks don`t believe going to therapy. That`s for crazy people."

But looking at Oprah, Oprah was like, "It`s OK because we have issues. We need to talk." So it was a big thing. I got my shrink because of Oprah. Thank you, Oprah.


SHEPHERD: I mean, you know, I feel like with Oprah, you know, she has spawned so many shows. She gives people hope.

If you want to know about relationships, Dr. Phil. If you want to know about finance, Suze Orman. If you want to know about health, Dr. Oz. If you know how to make spaghetti in 30 minutes or less, Rachael Ray. That`s all from Oprah.

HAMMER: It`s amazing, isn`t it?

SHEPHERD: Who else has done that?

HAMMER: She`s one of a kind, to be sure.

SHEPHERD: I carry my fat around in a cart, too.

HAMMER: Do you?


HAMMER: I didn`t say that backstage there.

SHEPHERD: I`ve stood at a mirror. And I pretended like I was Oprah Winfrey on "The Oprah Winfrey Show," "Today, we are doing life." I mean, I am so sad. I know she`s not going away, but she`s leaving the floor.

HAMMER: It`s the (INAUDIBLE) everything. And listen, when you guys were on the show, it was also terrific because we got to see you guys hanging out backstage with Oprah Winfrey.


HAMMER: You went back after the show, had a little champagne toast and some girl talk, if you will. And you asked her about how she writes in her journal. Now, I want to take a look at that caught-on-camera moment. Roll that.


SHEPHERD: Do you censor yourself now when you keep your journal or do you write everything?

WINFREY: I have to censor myself and also what I write.


WINFREY: I tell Gayle, you know, if I die before she does, find the journals first - that`s the first thing you do. She knows where they all are - in a vault. And keep them and do whatever you want with them. But you know, she would be overprotecting me. Yes. But if I ever do write a book, I think it`s a great resource.


HAMMER: Yes. I think everybody wants to read what`s in those journals. But Sherri, seriously, don`t you think she should write a book now that she`ll have a little extra time on her hands maybe and talk about some of her extraordinary life that she hasn`t before?

SHEPHERD: I would love to read a book by Oprah, you know, because she has so much knowledge and she`s done so much in her life. I would love to read a book about her journey. Thankfully, we get it every month in "O Magazine."


SHEPHERD: We get a lot of Oprah, but I think, yes, it`s a great time to write a book.

HAMMER: And I think - you know, a lot of people talk about "The View" possibly replacing Oprah. Let me just ask you, if the opportunity came along, are you all for it?

SHEPHERD: Wow. We would love to. We talked about it this morning. We`d love to, you know, be in Oprah`s slot. But we (INAUDIBLE) where we are supposed to be.

HAMMER: Love you in the mornings, but if it happens, it happens. Sherri, it`s always great to see you.

SHEPHERD: It`s good to see you, too, A.J.

HAMMER: All right. And do not forget you can catch Sherri, who is the host of the Game Show Network`s "The Newlywed Game."

Well, Oprah clearly had a dramatic effect on Sherri Shepherd`s life. Coming up tonight, more SHOWBIZ newsmaker interviews with other people that Oprah helped to transform. Talk about Oprah`s all-stars like Dr. Phil and Dr. Oz.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mehmet Oz, who some are calling the next Oprah, says what he learned from the queen of talk was to listen.


HAMMER: And the SHOWBIZ Flashpoint, will there ever be another Oprah? Surprising details tonight about the frontrunners. CNN`s own Anderson Cooper. How about Suze Orman?


ORMAN: People watch "The Oprah Winfrey Show," not for the entertainment, not for the celebrities. They watch because what they`re going to learn on that show has transformed their lives.


HAMMER: This is a SHOWBIZ special event, Oprah`s final farewell, on HLN.


USHER, SINGER: As long as I`ve been living, I think that I`ve been nurtured by her. She is fearless. She is fabulous. She`s Oprah.

WINFREY: So this is interesting, Tom. We`ve never seen you behave this way before.


WINFREY: Have you ever felt this way before?





UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Kirstie and Maks, Hines and Kim. After 10 weeks of hard-fought competition, the winners and new champions of "Dancing with the stars" are Hines and Kim!



HAMMER: Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward is the new "Dancing with the Stars" champ. This guy`s got two Super Bowl ring, but I`m sure they don`t compare to that mirror ball trophy. Congratulations to Hines and his dancing partner, Kim.

Of course, we were right there at the "Dancing with the Stars" finale. There was plenty of buzz going on all about Oprah`s finale farewell.

We had to ask "Dancing" runner-up, Kirstie Alley, about Oprah`s last show. You remember in one of Oprah`s biggest show moments, Kirstie showed off that banging bikini body that was back in 2006 after she lost 75 pounds? Well, now, Kirstie has this very special message for Oprah.


KIRSTIE ALLEY, ACTRESS AND "DANCING WITH THE STARS" RUNNER-UP: Oprah, I love you. I can`t wait to see the next things that you`re going to do. And I hope they include me, seriously, and not a bikini.


HAMMER: I think Kirstie looks great. And she also tells us that she`s done with reality TV. She`s ready to get back into movies.

And as Oprah moves on from her talk show to her OWN network, it`s just fascinating to me how big an impact Oprah Winfrey has had the past 25 years.

SHOWBIZ TONIGHT`s Kareen Wynter is in Chicago tonight for Oprah`s finale farewell. So Kareen, just how big has Oprah`s influence been?

WYNTER: A.J., it is absolutely mind-boggling. Let`s take a look, shall we, at Oprah by the numbers. Let`s start with Oprah`s charity, Angel Network. It`s raised more than $80 million.

She`s had an astounding 30,000 guests on the show. More than 4,500 shows have aired over the past 25 years. The show has won, get this - 47 Emmy Awards. That`s huge.

And Oprah`s most frequent guest in 25 years has appeared 27 times. All right, A.J., got to put you on the spot. Take a stab at who that guest might be.

HAMMER: I have no idea. Will Smith? I don`t know.

WYNTER: All right, Chris. Can we get a drum roll, please? Oprah`s most frequent guest in 25 years - Celine Dion, of course.

HAMMER: You`re kidding?

WYNTER: that`s a tough one. She`s had so many good guests. But yes, Celine gets it.

HAMMER: Celine Dion - 27 times in 25 years.


HAMMER: Well, I guess our heart will go on for Oprah Winfrey. And I`m guessing we`ll see more of Celine on the OWN network.

WYNTER: She had a lot to talk about.

HAMMER: I would have had no idea. All right. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT`s Kareen Wynter in Chicago, thank you so much.

Let`s move on to what`s coming up at the bottom of the hour on our SHOWBIZ special event, Oprah`s final farewell. You don`t want to miss this.

The SHOWBIZ great debate tonight, who is going to replace Oprah? That answer and a whole lot more in our SHOWBIZ newsmaker interview with Oprah`s all-stars. Talking about Dr. Phil, Dr. Oz and, of course, the great financial guru, Suze Orman. This is a SHOWBIZ special event on HLN.


KRISTIN CHENOWETH, ACTRESS AND SINGER: This is probably the biggest moment for me ever. I`ve performed for kings and queens and presidents, and I`ve had some wonderful opportunities. To get to perform for somebody who is actually a life teacher - I love her.




MCGRAW: People ask me all the time, "Is Oprah as nice and sweet as her image is on television?" And I say -


HAMMER: Tonight, a SHOWBIZ special event, Oprah`s final farewell. Dr. Phil, Suze Orman. Oprah`s all-stars right here tonight. SHOWBIZ newsmaker interviews with people like Dr. Oz, sharing stories with us, the Oprah they know.


OZ: Oprah touched my life.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mehmet Oz, who some are calling the next Oprah, says what he learned from the queen of talk was to listen.


HAMMER: Plus, the SHOWBIZ Flashpoint, will there ever be another Oprah? Who can replace her? Brand-new information about the frontrunners tonight.

ANNOUNCER: TV`s most provocative entertainment news show continues right now.


HAMMER: Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. It is 30 minutes past the hour. I`m A.J. Hammer coming to you from New York City with a SHOWBIZ special event, Oprah`s final farewell.

Tonight, Oprah`s all-stars. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT has been bringing you the one- on-one SHOWBIZ newsmaker interviews with Oprah`s closest friends. And right now, we are serving up even more big, brand-new revelations from Oprah`s inner circle.

SHOWBIZ TONIGHT`s Kareen Wynter is in Chicago where Oprah taped her final show.

So Kareen, there was no star-studded final show from Oprah. But there was one very influential person in Oprah`s life that was right there in the audience today, right?

WYNTER: That`s right. Really one of the best, most touching parts of the show. Oprah invited this one person to be part of really her final taping. And this person, A.J., you`re about to see - she really shaped Oprah`s life from the very, very beginning. Take a look.


WINFREY: My fourth grade teacher, Mrs. Duncan, was my first true liberator. She made me feel that I mattered. She let me lead devotion every day. That`s when we were allowed to pray in school.

She let me lay out the graham crackers for the class. She validated me. Mrs. Duncan called a few days ago and I asked her to be here for the last hour. And I`m honored to have her here today. Mrs. Duncan, stand up. Mrs. Duncan -


WYNTER: What a great, great story. Simply amazing. And I think, A.J., her fourth grade teacher really taught her a lot of things, how to be a great leader, how to be a great teacher.

And I think one of Oprah`s best students, hands down, has to be Dr. Phil McGraw. You know, I spoke with him. He opened up to me in the SHOWBIZ newsmaker interview I recently did with him. He says, "You know what? I have so much to be thankful for." You`ve got to see this. Take a look.


WYNTER: You know Oprah so well. This is a woman that you care deeply about. But what`s that one thing that many people may not know about Oprah Winfrey that would perhaps surprise - no, stun them?

MCGRAW: Well, you know, people ask me all the time, is Oprah as nice and sweet as her image is on television? And I say, "No, she`s nicer and she`s sweeter." And I mean that in the most sincere fashion.

The camera`s just not big enough to capture who she really is. I mean, you have to really know her. If you met her and she was an aide at your daughter`s school or she was a clerk at your grocery store or a neighbor or somebody you went to church with, you would love her.

WYNTER: Take me back to that moment when you got that call that you`d be getting your own show.

MCGRAW: Well, you know, it wasn`t a call actually. And she had always told me - she said, "If you ever want to do your own show, let me know because we`ll do it. You don`t need to go to any of the networks or anything. We`ll do it. Just let me know."

And I said OK, and that was during our first year. And I didn`t say anything the first year, the second year, the third year. And it came the fourth year and -

WYNTER: Did you wait that long?

MCGRAW: I loved what I was doing and I loved doing "The Oprah Show." And I was walking by her office one day at Harpo Studios between shows. And it was kind like, "Hey, dummy. Come in here. It`s time. It`s time to do your own show."

WYNTER: Do you attribute much of your success to her? For example, would you be where you are right now if it weren`t for her stamp?

MCGRAW: It`s more than just her stamp. Let me tell you something. When you spend five years doing "The Oprah Show" and she is your sponsor, your mentor, the person that really talks to you about how to do this to the gold standard, that is so invaluable.

Would you be where you are without Oprah Winfrey? Are you kidding me? There would be no Dr. Phil without Oprah Winfrey. She was gracious enough to have me on her show for so long and to put, you know, the Oprah stamp of approval and then train me and teach me how to do it all and then launch the show. Other than that, she hasn`t really been too much help.

WYNTER: She`s so anxious to jump into her new challenge of really, really shaping OWN. What I love about Oprah is she`s been very candid about it saying, "The ratings aren`t where they should be. I haven`t devoted half as much time as I should to this new network." What do you see is her biggest challenge here?

MCGRAW: Well, you know, I think it`s just managing the machine. You know, there`s an old saying in Texas, "Nothing max the crops grow like the shadow of the owner." And I think when she casts her shadow over that on a full- time basis, I think you`re going to start seeing the network respond to it.

But "The Oprah Show" is going away and so that`s where you`re going to find Oprah. And that`s going to be a huge difference that the only place you can find her is on that network.


HAMMER: And Dr. Phil really sounds like he`s really looking forward to Oprah`s next chapter as well. By the sound of it, Oprah is really going to be busier than ever as she starts running her network full time. Kareen, what part of your little chat with Dr. Phil really surprised you the most?

WYNTER: You know, in so many interviews - for example, Gayle King is always referred to Oprah, her best friend, as being so down to earth, "That`s my girlfriend." And I never actually believed it.

You look at Oprah as a superhuman, larger-than-life character. And I never, ever connected to what she was saying, you know, until I heard Dr. Phil talking about how genuine she is, how real she is, how much she calls him dude, how she loves taking care of her friends.

HAMMER: All right. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT`s Kareen Wynter, thank you so much. Now, personal finance guru, Suze Orman, is another wildly successful Oprah all-star. She was a regular on Oprah`s show.

She, of course, has her own show now. And tonight, Suze tells me and all of us, get over it. Oprah leaving daytime is the best thing that could happen.


ORMAN: I don`t see this as an ending. You know, it`s sad because I`m not going to get to see a lot of the producers that I`ve worked with for the past 12 or some odd years.

But this continues and it does continue on the Oprah Winfrey Network. And you know, A.J., people watch "The Oprah Winfrey Show," not for the entertainment, not for the celebrities. They watch because what they`re going to learn on that show has transformed their lives.

It made them a better person. That will continue on the Oprah Winfrey Network. So as soon as Oprah goes off the air and the reruns go off the air, people will find and want to find that same type of education and they`ll find it on the Oprah Winfrey Network.

So it`s just going to continue in a different form. Oprah`s not going anywhere. She`s just moving home, so to speak.

HAMMER: Exactly.

ORMAN: And that`s all she`s really doing. What I did say to her was when this was all starting - it was the day that actually the network was going to launch. I said, "Guess what this is," because she said, "I can`t take this all in."

I said, "This is your true legacy. You know, there are people today who don`t know who Johnny Carson is. They don`t know who Phil Donahue was. They just don`t even know these people ever existed.

There will come a time that if Oprah hadn`t done the Oprah Winfrey Network, people might go, "Oprah who" because they`d not seen her. That will never be the case here.

Oprah has created a legacy that will go on far after she has gone by creating the Oprah Winfrey Network. Oprah is now going to imprint this world for the rest of their lives, which I think is fabulous.


HAMMER: Suze, Phil, just two of Oprah`s all-stars, shining their light on all of us. But wait, there`s more. We`re going one-on-one with Nate Berkus and Dr. Oz. More spectacular SHOWBIZ newsmaker interviews, Oprah all-stars edition.


OZ: Oprah touched my life.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mehmet Oz, who some are calling the next Oprah, says what he learned from the queen of talk was to listen.


HAMMER: The SHOWBIZ great debate, who is going to replace Oprah? Brand- new information about the frontrunners tonight. And the final aha moment. Oprah`s moving message to us, the fans, with the big hints about her next 25 years. This is a SHOWBIZ special event, Oprah`s final farewell on HLN.


ALICIA KEYS, SINGER: She`s someone that I`ve always looked to, to know that you can be a very good standup person and achieve everything you dream. You can just be a beautiful person and she is.

WINFREY: I lost - I have lost as of this morning - as of this morning 67 pounds since July 7th.




WINFREY: One of the proudest moments in the history of "The Oprah Show" was when my friend Tyler Perry joined me on this stage and gave us his testimony of abuse and then was joined by 200 men.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was sexually assaulted at 14.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was raped at the age of 14.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was sexually abused my entire childhood until I was 18.

WINFREY: What a full circle moment. I felt safe enough with you all 25 years ago. This season, they felt safe enough with me. Thank you, Tyler, and every man who had the strength to stand up for the little boy inside him.



HAMMER: That`s just one of the many touching moments from Oprah`s final show today. Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. I`m A.J. Hammer in New York.

And as the saying goes, when one door closes, well, another one opens. So as the door closes on "The Oprah Winfrey Show," who will greet us like a breath of fresh air?

Well, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT can tell you, it`s likely going to be the TV personalities that she made famous, like Dr. Oz and Nate Berkus. Some are even calling Dr. Oz the new Oprah.

Well, tonight, we go one-on-one with Dr. Oz and Nate Berkus as they share their most intimate Oprah memories and take us behind closed doors with the woman they call friend. Here`s CNN`s Alina Cho for SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.


ALINA CHO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): She`s given away cars, sat with stars, even had a hand in the presidential election. Oprah Winfrey`s favorite things are our favorite things. The people she likes, we love, like Dr. Oz.

OZ: Oprah touched my life.

CHO: Mehmet Oz, who some are calling him the next Oprah, says what he learned from the queen of talk was to listen.

OZ: I`m getting a tutorial in this.


OZ: My biggest weakness of all, without any question, listen, I`m a guy and a surgeon. That`s two strikes. I don`t listen well.

CHO: Oz says Oprah taught him to stop trying to fix the problem and let the audience be heard.

OZ: I think what Oprah understood was that Marcus Welby was dead. Those doctors weren`t practicing anymore. And so we needed to create a very different genre of healer that understood the role of the patient.

CHO: Like Dr. Oz, Nate Berkus, Oprah`s decorator, also has his own show. But what he remembers most is coming on as a guest, just weeks after he survived the Asian tsunami. His partner, Fernando, did not.

BERKUS: The entire community of viewers of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" rallied around me, got out their checkbooks and made donations.

CHO: Millions of dollars. Why he decided to bare his soul and show his pain so soon after his loss. Berkus says he would not have done it anywhere else.

(on camera): Will there ever be another Oprah?

BERKUS: Please take it from me. There will never, under any circumstances - there won`t be a funnier Oprah. There won`t be a kinder Oprah. There will never be anybody like Oprah.

WINFREY: That is so cool!

CHO (voice-over): And as Oprah signs off, Mehmet Oz moves in. On Thursday, the "Dr. Oz Show" slides to Oprah`s old slot, 4:00 p.m. in a number of key markets. But the move is bittersweet.

OZ: So Oprah, I love you dearly. I wish you the best.


HAMMER: What an impact she had. That was CNN`s Alina Cho for SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. So could Dr. Oz actually turn out to be the next Oprah? Dr. Oz`s show will be taking over Oprah`s time slot in almost all of the biggest cities.

But you might want to watch your back, Dr. Oz. You`ve got some big competition out there looking to inherit Oprah`s daytime TV throne. We`ve got Dr. Phil. We`ve got Nate Berkus, Suze Orman and even Anderson Cooper. All contenders in that race.

And that leads to our SHOWBIZ Flashpoint - can there ever really be another Oprah?

Joining me right now from Hollywood, actress, activist and soon-to-be author, Sheryl Lee Ralph. Sheryl Lee, to our SHOWBIZ Flashpoint - can Oprah ever be replaced?

SHERYL LEE RALPH, ACTRESS AND ACTIVIST: There was only one big Oprah. She has done her thing and it has been amazing. You know, I`m going to miss those moments where you say I just need to feel good.

You turn on the TV and there`s Ms. Oprah and you`re like, "OK, Oprah. You go, girl." I love it. And I`m going to miss her. There will never be another one.

HAMMER: Yes. I`m with you. I think Oprah is definitely one of a kind. TV, obviously, is so different now than when she first started. But I certainly think - look, somebody else could come along and be just as big in pop culture in their own way.

Let me go to Rachel Zalis, a contributing editor at "Life and Style Weekly." Rachel to the SHOWBIZ Flashpoint, can there ever really be another Oprah?

RACHEL ZALIS, CONTRIBUTING EDITOR, "LIFE AND STYLE WEEKLY": Listen, I don`t think there`s ever going to be someone as big as the Big O. But if anyone is going to do it, I`ve got to say the Big K, Katie Couric.

She has everything it takes. She`s been in people`s homes every single day for a long time. They feel like she`s their friend. She can handle pop pieces like celebrities to everything, from the colon cancer series she did. So I`m putting my money on Katie Couric.

HAMMER: All right. Well, let`s take a look at some of the other contenders, people who might be the big leader in daytime TV once "The Oprah Show" is officially gone.

Because it`s not just Oprah going away. Let`s remember that. All the soaps are being cancelled. Regis Philbin is leaving his show after 23 years in November. Not all the soaps, but you know, a whole bunch of them.

Who will fill the void? Could it be Dr. Oz? Dr. Phil? Maybe Nate Berkus? They`re already on the air, of course. They`re ready to take over.

CNN`s Anderson Cooper starting his syndicated show in the fall, and as Rachel mentioned, Katie Couric expected to get her own afternoon talk show.

What do you think, Sheryl Lee? Who is going to grab the throne that Oprah is leaving behind as the top talk show?

RALPH: You know, out of all of those names - and I love all of them - but I really think that Dr. Oz right now is making an absolute connection with his audience.

He`s got the right kind of answers that people are looking for right now, especially when it comes to their health and well-being. And he`s just the kind of guy that every woman loves.

There`s that thing, just like with Oprah. She transcended all of those boundaries. Dr. Oz is doing the same this evening with everybody.

HAMMER: Yes. He`s a terrific storyteller.

RALPH: That`s my take.

HAMMER: And of course, Oprah was more than just a talk show. She told terrific stories -

RALPH: That`s right.

HAMMER: All the time, including on her last show today. I think it really put into perspective how far things have come and how she really shattered that glass ceiling for African-American women. Roll that out.



WINFREY: But I`m truly amazed that I, who started out in rural Mississippi in 1954, when the vision for a black girl was limited to be either a maid or a teacher in a segregated school, could end up here.

It is no coincidence that a lonely little girl, who felt not a lot of love, even though my parents and grandparents did the best they could - it is no coincidence I grew up to feel the genuine kindness, affection, trust and validation from millions of you all over the world.


HAMMER: Sheryl Lee, what does it mean to you personally when you see Oprah getting so emotional like that about that?

RALPH: I absolutely understand what she`s saying, you know - because when Oprah first started, everybody looked at Oprah and said, "No, that`s not what America`s going to buy." She`s too this, she`s too that and she`s that. So who is going to buy her?

And everybody overlooked at the beginning that enormous heart of hers that you just couldn`t miss. And just by being an outstanding human being, she has made the difference for a whole lot of little black girls who might have thought, "I`m too this" or "I`m too that" or "I`m just - I`m black so they`re not going to choose me." She showed all you`ve got to do is be you.

HAMMER: What an impact. I do have to end it there. Sheryl Lee Ralph, Rachel Zalis - you`re absolutely right. Just be you. Thank you so much.

HAMMER: And it`s all come down to this - the last cheers, the last tears. Next, Oprah`s final goose bump-inducing message to us the fans in her own words. This is a SHOWBIZ special event, Oprah`s final farewell, on HLN.


ROSIE O`DONNELL, TV PERSONALITY: I don`t really know another woman I can think of since I`ve been alive that has had the effect on the amount of people that she has. We are all going to miss her and we are all going to lose something.

WINFREY: I wanted to give you the hottest ticket in television!



HAMMER: This is a SHOWBIZ special event, Oprah`s final farewell. While there were no car giveaways, no surprise trips during Oprah`s final show today, there were certainly plenty of tears.

Back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT`s Kareen Wynter in Chicago right now where Oprah taped her final show. Kareen, Oprah pulled really a 180 on us today, didn`t she?

WYNTER: She absolutely did. And before today, you know, we saw Oprah being honored like the queen she is. Her spectacular star-studded goodbye was taped at the United Center. And we saw the biggest celebs in the world wish her well after 25 years.

But today, Oprah - she returned to her own stage all alone and she paid tribute to her millions of viewers. It was a poignant goodbye without Oprah saying goodbye. Take a look.


WINFREY: I`ve been asked many times during this farewell season, is ending the show bittersweet? Well, I say all sweet, no bitter.

And here`s why. Many of us have been together for 25 years. We have hooted and hollered together, had our aha moments. We ugly cried together and we did our gratitude journals.

So I thank you all for your support and your trust in me. I thank you for sharing this yellow brick road of blessings. I thank you for tuning in every day along with your mothers and your sisters and your daughters, your partners, gay and otherwise, your friends and all the husbands who got coaxed into watching "Oprah."

And I thank you for being as much of a sweet inspiration for me as I`ve tried to be for you. I won`t say goodbye. I`ll just say until we meet again. To God be the glory.


WYNTER: Oh, A.J., it`s so hard to hold it together. This was an absolute tearjerker. As Oprah walked off the stage, you know, she embraced her staff. There were some tears shed. But then, and I`ll never forget this moment, as she`s walking down the halls of Harpo, she picks up her beloved dog, Sadie.

She walks into her office, closing this chapter of her life. I`ll always, always remember that moment.

HAMMER: Yes. After so much speculation as to how it would end, I thought that was the perfect way to do it. And you know, watching our show today and seeing all of our one-on-ones with the Oprah all-stars, the one thing that really resounded to me is, as savvy a business woman as she was, as much money as she was worth, everybody, from Nate Berkus to Dr. Oz to Dr. Phil, what they talked about wasn`t her business savvy or her money -

WYNTER: Not at all.

HAMMER: It wasn`t about that. It was about family and touching people and making a difference in people`s lives. And I think that is striking and I think that will be just a part of Oprah Winfrey`s legacy. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT`s Kareen Wynter - thank you so much, Kareen.

WYNTER: Thanks, A.J.

HAMMER: Well, that is it for this SHOWBIZ special event, Oprah`s final farewell. I`m A.J. Hammer in New York. Remember, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT is now seen exclusively Monday to Friday, at 11:00 p.m. Eastern and Pacific, right here on HLN.