Oprah joins forces with '60 Minutes'

Iconic broadcasting figure Oprah Winfrey is slated to become a special contributor to CBS's '60 Minutes,' starting this fall.

John Salangsang/Invision/AP
Winfrey has been named a 'special contributor' to CBS News program '60 Minutes,' CBS announced on Jan. 31, 2017. Winfrey will bring occasional reports to the newsmagazine starting fall 2017, when it begins its 50th season on the air.

Oprah Winfrey, known for hosting the most successful daytime television talk show of all time, plans to return to her journalism roots by joining “60 Minutes” as a special contributor, CBS News announced Tuesday.

While Ms. Winfrey’s career has touched upon areas ranging from acting to publishing, this deal is seen as marking a powerful collaboration as she became the first contributor to the news program in its history.

“I've been a big admirer of ‘60 Minutes’ since my days as a young reporter,” Winfrey said in a statement. “I'm so excited and proud to join forces with this historic news program, which for me represents the bastion of journalistic storytelling.”

It's not immediately clear, however, either how the esteemed broadcaster will contribute to the show or how long her collaboration with "60 Minutes" will last. Winfrey has said that she plans to make her first appearance in the Sunday night news program this fall, as the show goes into its 50th season.

Winfrey said she hopes she could “bring relevant insight and perspective, to look at what separates us, and help facilitate real conversations between people from different backgrounds” through her work for the news program, this raises some speculations that her new position might mean she is stepping into the political fray.

This would not be the first time the longtime daytime talk show host has worked with the network. CBS aired Winfrey’s hourlong interview with the then-First Lady Michelle Obama in December, before the interview ran on the cable network of which Winfrey is the president. Oprah is also a frequent guest on “CBS This Morning,” and enjoys a close friendship with Gayle King, an anchor of that show.

Having hosted the most successful syndicated talk show in history for 25 years, Winfrey has remained active in the media world since her award-winning show went off the air in 2011. Since then, she has founded OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network through a partnership with Discovery Communications and launched her own production company, Harpo Productions. With several critically acclaimed performances in movies and a recently published cookbook memoir, Oprah has achieved unusually broad success in her career.

According to the statement from CBS, Winfrey also dedicates herself to philanthropy around the world. She donated more than $20 million to the newly founded Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture and has contributed more than $100 million to provide education to girls in South Africa through the girls-only boarding school she founded in 2007.

Yet, with all these projects, Winfrey’s new role offers her something different – the opportunity to connect with her audience through storytelling, said Mrs. King.

"She has said all the time that she doesn't miss the day-to-day of the show, but what she does miss is storytelling and connecting with people, women in particular," she said on “CBS This Morning” Tuesday morning. "And being able to meet and talk to them and interact with them. That's what she misses. So to me, this is a perfect marriage."

The executive producer of the TV newsmagazine, Jeff Fager, backed this thought, saying the addition of Winfrey will be “invigorating,” he told CNN.

“There is only one Oprah Winfrey,” Fager said in the statement. “She has achieved excellence in everything she has touched… She is a remarkable and talented woman with a level of integrity that sets her apart and makes her a perfect fit for ‘60 Minutes.’ I am thrilled that she will be bringing her unique and powerful voice to our broadcast.”

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