Oprah Winfrey likes it large and grand and the three part finale of her twenty five year old show was definitely the grandest of shows on television. Oprah Winfrey comes across as very spontaneous but works hard and has a very efficient team that leaves nothing to chance and it was evident that massive preparatory work had gone into creating a grand spectacle for television audiences around the world. She reflected on the early days of her show, “I started out with a jerry curl and a bad fur coat,” she said. The show grew to a stage when for the finale $1 million advertising spots were sold.
One of the highlight and the most awaited event on the show used to be her annual giveaway bonanza of her Favorite Things. When she gave away a Pontiac G6 car to each one of the 274 members in the audience, the whole world took notice. If you see closely you will notice that the value of things she gave away kept increasing over the years except one year when recession made her skip the event completely. She has generally been generous and has announced many dramatic giveaways on her show but even if you add up annual holiday installments of Favorite Things, it adds up to $23,809,050 worth of products she’s given away since 2002. In 2002 the total cost of the gift hampers was only $730,500 with Samsung mobile being the most expensive item at $400. Kiehl’s Limited Edition Gift Box and a Wafer-Thin CD System were other important items that year.
2003 gift pack boasted of a $1,000 Sony DCR-DVD200 Handycam. It also had a Blackberry, branded watch and branded apparel and the total cost rose to $1,527,750. 2004 witnessed a sharp jump in the value of the gift hamper. It had more expensive items like Sony VAIO S260 Notebook computer, Dell 30″ Wide-Screen LCD TV and many other interesting gifts and gift vouchers. The total cost went up to $4,299,600. There was some amount of restraint shown in 2005. The highlight of the pack was a $2,400 Philip Stein Teslar Diamond Watch but the total cost had been restricted to $2,211,600. In response to criticism that Favorite Things had become a vulgar display of consumerism in 2006 Oprah gave each audience member a $1000 credit card and a camcorder and instructions to use the money to do something kind for someone else while using the camcorder to videotape the good deed. The total cost as a result went down to $390,000.
However 2007 again saw the gift pack filled with goodies again. There were camcorders, watches and even a LG HDTV Refrigerator worth $3,800. The resultant cost was $2,364,000. The recession set in 2008 and the gift pack shrank with a Norma Kamali Suit worth $350 being the most expensive item. The toatal cost also came down to $210,600. There was no annual giveaway for the first time in 2009. It was more than made up the next year in 2010 when the total cost of annual giveaway went up to 412,075,000. A 2012 Volkswagen Beetle, due for delivery May 2011 worth $22,000 was the highlight of the pack. People genuinely looked forward to her show and it will be missed by a lot of fans.
The three part farewell comprised of a special episode that was aired on Wednesday. A large number of celebrities and a whole lot of fans came together to pay tribute to the most famous talk show host in history. The star studded lineup included Tom Hanks, Dakota Fanning, Jerry Seinfeld, who performed a routine, Madonna, Tom Cruise, Halle Berry, Beyonce, John Legend, Jamie Fox, Dr. Phil, Stevie Wonder, Patti LaBelle, Aretha Franklin, Rosie O’Donnell, Usher and Stedman Graham. The 57-year-old media mogul told her viewers she hoped they would take what she’s given them and turn their everyday lives into their own personal stage, to realize they also have the power to affect and change lives.