“You don’t go on Oprah to confess. You go on Oprah to be forgiven.” ~ Don Van Natta Jr.
True that, folks. Though Oprah has relegated herself to the lesser walked halls of special and kinda hard to find cable, she is still Oprah. She’s still one of the most successful people of all time. She’s still the “get” for political and professional support. And let’s be honest, she could come back to her daytime slot in two shakes if she wanted to. Like Jay Z in the booth…She’s probably stood in Jay Z’s booth.
Anyway you may or may not have heard about Lance Armstrong’s upcoming sit-down with the Queen of Talk.
Absolutely brilliant. No hard-hitting 60 Minutes or relevant sports network for him. Armstrong and his Olivia Pope very smart decision to talk with Oprah, and Jason Gay at The Wall Street Journal summed up the strategy:
“Oprah is Oprah. She is a master of her medium, a friend, a confessional, fully in control, at peace in her own Oprah atmosphere. Oprah time is not harshly-lit, painful awkwardness. Oprah envelops you in Oprah-ness. She asks. You talk, because it’s Oprah Winfrey. And Oprah listens. This is comforting. Everyone wants to be listened to, and the fact that it’s Oprah doing the listening must be so seductive and affirming. I wouldn’t even need to have something important to say to Oprah to want to be on Oprah. I would happily sit on a couch and tell Oprah what I had for breakfast. I would talk to Oprah about my cat. She could elevate my banalities into symphonies. My breakfast would be the greatest breakfast that ever happened. My cat would get his own TV show.”
Michael Jackson, James Frey, Whitney. All have sat on “the couch” and prayed for that Oprah magic. Because her audience (the world) eats it up. We don’t listen to them anymore when they sit there. They are secondary to the warmth and comfort of Oprah’s semi-deep tone and catch-you-off-guard exuberance. And let’s face it, there’s nothing warm and comfort-y about Lance Armstrong right now. There’s confusion and lies and drugs. Michael, James, and Whitney…
Again, brilliant move. Check out Gay’s article if you have a minute. But in case you don’t, one more passage:
“A few years ago I was at a dinner with a star pro cyclist—a guy who still races, and has won multiple Tour de France stages—and he spoke with slack-jawed awe about Armstrong’s life. Not the bike racing part. The private jet part. The audiences with world leaders. The celebrity girlfriends. This bike racer was young and rich and in his prime and yet to him, Armstrong just kicked it on a completely different, interplanetary level. He didn’t talk about Lance Armstrong like Lance Armstrong was a cyclist. He talked about Lance Armstrong like Lance Armstrong was Beyoncé.”