Oprah Winfrey is the newest addition to the long-running news magazine program “60 Minutes.” The show will open its 50th season this September and Winfrey’s first feature will be on political divisions.
Winfrey as a special contributor to “60 Minutes” first came to light in January, when CBS confirmed that it signed the popular media personality. Winfrey’s debut will be on the episode airing Sunday, Sept. 24, at 7:00 p.m. EST.
Winfrey was in Grand Rapids, Michigan in late August to film her segment. It’s been presumed that she was there to cover why the state supported President Donald Trump in the 2016 elections when Michigan voted for President Barack Obama’s two terms.
“She wants to do stories with impact,” executive producer Jeff Fager said. “She’s driven by that and so are we. That’s part of why this is such a good fit for her.”
Winfrey told Vogue how she got the idea on political divide and the “60 Minutes” job. She was hosting a roundtable discussion for O Magazine that involved women supporters of both Trump and Hillary Clinton and it happened a few weeks after the elections.
Before the discussion started, there was an apparent tension among the participants. She did not turn the conversation into a political debate and took on a different angle.
“I was able to get those women from different backgrounds to begin to actually hear and feel for each other,” Winfrey said.
Fager has been asking her to do “60 Minutes” for several years and she finally has an idea on what story to work on following her experience with the women.
Winfrey has done several iconic and impactful interviews in the past while she was still doing her daytime talk show “Oprah.” She sat down with professional cyclist Lance Armstrong when he confirmed that he took performance-enhancing drugs. Tom Cruise professed his love for Katie Holmes to Winfrey like a crazed teenager when he jumped on her couch on her show.
“60 Minutes” solidified the careers of journalists Don Hewitt, Ed Bradley, Mike Wallace and Morley Safer. Today’s current contributors include Anderson Cooper, Bill Whitaker, Charlie Rose, David Martin, Jon Wertheim, Lara Logan, Lesley Stahl, Norah O’Donnell, Sharyn Alfonsi and Scott Pelley.
On Oct. 5, “60 Minutes” will be honored by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences in New York for its 50th year.