Oprah is returning to her home planet this week. Or she's leaving daytime television. Or something like that. Everybody loves Oprah. Even if they've never seen her television program, they know Oprah is "truth." She's solid, she's the bridge between different cultures and the essence of what it means to be a star. She's mildly and inoffensively controversial and she has something like 6.5 million viewers that are going to be "up for grabs," in TV-person speak.
There are a lot of things we'll always remember about the Oprah -- like that James Frey thing, or the Tom Cruise thing. But now that she's about to leave, we really are only concerned with ourselves and how we are going to fill the horrible void she will leave within us when she goes. What's daytime TV going to be like? Who is going to snag those 6.5 million people who apparently sit around and watch Oprah in the middle of the day?
Certainly, many TV-types are thinking now is about the right time to get into the daytime game. Given that Judge Judy gets around 7 million viewers, networks have realized people will watch anything as long as its not a soap opera in the middle of the day.
While Oprah brought a positive spin to the daytime world filled with the likes of Jerry Springer or Maury Povich, only time will tell if daytime TV is even interested in repeating that streak. With Glenn Beck on the prowl and looking for a job, we wouldn't be too surprised if he tried to pop into the daytime world with a show strictly dedicated to outing communists. Nor would we be surprised if Katie Couric, who also happens to be out of a job, enters the daytime space, as she'd be a close fit for Oprah in the positivity and adorability department.
And Couric would be a fine replacement, but we'd rather see Daniel Tosh. It might seem like the foul-mouthed, not-at-all-politically correct comedian would be a strange choice, but Tosh.0 is essentially a version of what we're all doing in the middle of the day anyway: watching dumb videos on the internet. It's exactly what daytime TV needs, a clear voice of a new generation, nevermind the fact that generation is probably too lazy to actually turn the TV on, or too stoned to remember when the show airs.
Still Oprah was around to do good, not make fun of people. She was there to give viewers a glimpse at things they didn't understand. She taught us all how to pick out the right gift, how to heal broken hearts through shopping. She even taught us all the different ways we could use WD-40 to make our lives better. She had a magic wand she would wave to make everything okay, but can anyone else do that?
Katie Couric probably can. Glenn Beck would probably prefer a magic wand that made everything worse. Daniel Tosh would make fun of everyone, but it'd be better than another episode of TMZ.
In the meantime, the network executives will continue running around trying to put together shows that look and act like Oprah's to appeal to some mystical "target demographic," but in all reality, whether it's Oprah or someone else, all we really want to know is how we're supposed to dress for a job interview or what those weirdos we see at the grocery humping the cereal boxes are thinking about while they're doing it. For that purpose, we'd put our money on Tosh.
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.