Will We Really Miss Oprah That Much?

After the talk-show maven's last hurrah on ABC, I'm not convinced we'll all be walking around with gaping, Oprah-size holes in our hearts

I hadn’t really thought hard about Oprah’s departure from the afternoon television scene until a radio personality (actually—a male radio personality) waxed poetic about it a few mornings ago.

Oprah taught him how to respect women and be tender toward them, he rambled with feeling, his co-hosts adding their own two cents about the impact she had on women in the fleeting world of TV talk shows—but not without teasing him that he’s a guy who likes Oprah. I was transfixed. Sure, Oprah made a major mark on the world—not only in pop culture, but in philanthropy and, to an extent that maybe I hadn’t realized before, for women.

I hadn’t thought much about Oprah’s long-awaited exit before hearing it on the radio, either way. Sure, she’s been a fixture in the world for quite some time, but is that much really changing? The woman does have her own network … and, so I hear (admittedly, I haven’t caught her show in a long while), she officially say goodbye.

Informal chats with some Philly Mag staffers showed me that I’m not the only one feeling ambivalent about the Queen Bee of the talk-show world’s abdication of her throne; my young female colleagues feel similarly. Sure, Oprah’s a legend, one pointed out, but … we haven’t religiously watched the show at any point in time, really.

But should we care more about Oprah’s departure from daytime TV? Will she have the same impact on a separate network that, more than likely, has less viewership? Will her message and her work continue to be the same as it always was?

I didn’t have to search long on her website to find testimonials from women around the world whose lives she touched. Just check out this inspiring video. She paved the way and encouraged a woman in Afghanistan to be the first talk-show host there. That’s a pretty impressive impact to have, from a television screen halfway around the world, for someone who isn’t a president, prime minister or diplomat. I guess, if you think about it, 25 years ago, Oprah was truly one of a kind. Whether or not the Ellen DeGenereses and Tyra Bankses of the world would exist without her isn’t known for sure, but her impact was tangible. It wasn’t something I’d ever really given deep thought to before. But I can say that, though I won’t miss the show itself, if her widespread impact shrinks with its end, I think women of the world could miss out in some way.

What do you think—will you miss Oprah now that her show has ended? Will her impact reach as far without her show airing on a major network?