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How do you commemorate a TV talk show that has been going strong for 25 years? A show that has broken ratings records, and hosted hundreds of A-list celebrities, and given away cars, vacation packages and dozens of other big-ticket items? A show that's launched a national book club and inspired thousands of new readers?
Well, you fete its host with a secret, star-studded, two-episode tribute. That's why scores of Oprah Winfrey fans will fill the 200,000-plus seats of Chicago's United Center Tuesday night for the videotaped celebration, "Surprise Oprah! A Farewell Spectacular." After editing, this extravaganza will make up the third-to-last and the penultimate episodes of The Oprah Winfrey Show, airing on May 23 and May 24.
Which celebrities will appear? "Who won't appear?" might be a better question. Over her quarter century on the air, Winfrey has interviewed musicians, movie stars, TV personalities, politicians, sports figures, authors and artists. At this point, she is as famous as any of them. And that's not counting the myriad number of people Winfrey herself has made famous, such as Dr. Phil and Dr. Oz.
"Celebrities from film, television and music feel a deep appreciation for the support they have received from Oprah and the show over the years," Oprah producer Sheri Salata told the Associated Press. Apart from, say, a world leader, it's hard to imagine anyone who's had an impact on so many peoples' lives. Producers aren't disclosing the content of the very last episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show, on May 25. But no doubt that will be worth tuning in for as well.