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Top 9 Of '09 - No. 7: Oprah, Oprah, Oprah

By Marcus Gilmer in News on Dec 28, 2009 8:00PM

Today through Wednesday, we're counting down the top 9 stories of 2009 according to the Chicagoist staff.

Love her or loathe her, there's no denying Oprah was everywhere in 2009. From Obamas to Olympics to the Mag Mile, 2009 was a year in which Oprah - always a hot topic - was even more visible than usual. And, ohbytheway, she made a sorta big announcement. So where to begin? Let's break down Oprah's year chronologically.

  • It was no surprise that Oprah - a big supporter of Barack Obama's presidential campaign - was pumped for the inauguration. Sure enough, Oprah took her show on the road to D.C. for the big event. First Lady Michelle Obama would later become the first person to ever share the cover of O Magazine with Oprah. As for Oprah's own political aspirations? While the Blago case was hitting the fan, a report leaked that the ex-gov had considered her as a possible replacement for the outgoing Obama, the talk show queen said she was "amused" by the consideration. Politics would re-enter Oprah's world when, in the fall, she announced that Sarah Palin, the VP candidate with Obama's presidential opponent Sen. John McCain, would make an appearance on the show to support her new book. After causing a stir with the announcement, the interview wound up more fluff than fuss.
  • As the City made the final preparations on its 2016 Summer Olympics bid, Oprah was one of the big names recruited to assist in the wining and dining of the IOC during their evaluation visit in April. She would later join the Obamas and the rest of the Chicago 2016 delegation in Copenhagen to make the final pitch in person. Of course, we know how the bid turned out, but more on that later in the week.
  • It wasn't all peaches and cream for Oprah in '09, though. Besides a lawsuit over the use of her name and a Newsweek cover story that took a skeptical look at Oprah's lifestyle suggestions to her viewers, when she announced plans to shut down a stretch of the Mag Mile for her 2009-2010 season premiere, she found plenty of rancor awaiting her at home. As for the show itself, it seemed to go off without much of a hitch and certainly attracted a large number of attendees and eventually became an afterthought after the event was wrapped up.
  • Or so we thought. In the wake of that controversy arose rumors that Oprah was planning on packing up the show. She offered a response which did little to clear the air. But just two weeks later, Oprah announced that the show's 25th season (2010-2011) would be its last as she would then be leaving to focus on the formation of her own new television network. The announcement led to Mayor Daley dredging up those complaints over the earlier Mag Mile show and blaming the media for pushing Oprah to the brink while it caused us to turn back the calendar and remember the Oprah of years gone by.

Phew. And there's still more that happened in the Oprahverse but those were the big events. Even with the final season of her show kicking off next fall, we have a feeling she'll have a tough time making more headlines than she did this year.

Previously: No. 9 - Abbate Case Resolved; No. 8 - Rick Bayless Goes Supernova