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Countdown is on to Oprah’s Last Show

Filed under : News, YUM MZ

By: Maria Smith

Young Urban Mom Maria Smith, recounts her experience working as a production assistant with the Oprah Winfrey show

The Oprah Winfrey Show will leave the airways for good this May. After 25 years on air, dozens of awards, and garnering millions of fans worldwide, Harpo Studios announced the last show will air May 25, 2011. As a former producer on her amazing staff, I am finding myself both nostalgic and sad to see it end.

Like most thirty-somethings, I grew up with Oprah. It was my after-school show in high school and something I planned my classes around in college, especially since I went to school one mile away from Harpo Studios. Like millions of aspiring journalists, I just knew that I wanted to work at Harpo and watched the show religiously trying to find the “in” to getting a job there. After a few TV jobs post college, I landed my dream position as a production assistant with The Oprah Winfrey Show in 2000.

In my four years at Harpo, I learned firsthand the power of “O”. It may be cliché but it’s true… The show changes lives on a daily basis.

From the guests who are lucky enough to land a spot on Oprah’s couch to those who sit in the coveted seats in the audience to the millions who are glued to the television each day, there have been thousands of lessons learned and laughs shared. While working there, I lived and breathed the show. And, like all of Oprah’s staff, I poured my heart into each guest I booked and each show I worked on. As a result, I feel like I played a small part in the historic run of The Oprah Winfrey Show.

There will definitely be something missing in my life at 4 PM each day.

So what’s next?

Oprah Winfrey launched the much-lauded The Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) in January and tapped Rosie O’Donnell to make her return to daytime TV on the network this fall. According to news reports, Rosie will tape her show out of the iconic Harpo Studios in Chicago, hopefully making use of the enormous amount of talent already working for Harpo.

We’ll see, what else comes next. I know I’ll be watching.

Maria Smith resides in Atlanta, Georgia with her husband and three kids. In her pre-baby days, she was a TV producer for shows like Oprah, and now fills her child-free time with freelance writing and public relations projects. You could reach her at or on Twitter @MariaRSmith.

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