Happy 2012! It’s a new year and with it comes a new Oprah Winfrey show. The original primetime series, Oprah’s Next Chapter, debuted on OWN (naturally) on Jan. 1 with a two-hour special featuring Steven Tyler…holding hands with Oprah, and walking around his beautiful lakefront home in Sunapee, New Hampshire. (And wow, nice house, Steven Tyler!)
Seeing Oprah outside the familiar studio set takes some adjusting, as does seeing Winfrey so relaxed in jeans and a sunny yellow sweater. But once she got settled into interview mode with Tyler – and I think I like the behind-the-scenes feel of seeing producers scurrying about readying cameras, etc., in moderation at least– we saw Oprah being Oprah and doing what she does best. This woman is a master interviewer. It’s easy to take for granted, but Winfrey has both an innate ability to get celebrities to open up to her, and zero hesitation over asking tough questions.
Her conversation with Tyler certainly veered into sensitive territory. A lot of time was spent on the 63-year-old’s long history with drug and alcohol addiction (“May I just say…I am surprised you are still alive,” Winfrey told Tyler. “It used to be cool to hear that, now it kinda hurts,” he replied); his fraught relationship with fellow Aerosmith band members; the death of his father (which happened just days before the interview took place); and his newfound fame and popularity as an American Idol judge. Tyler was forthright in just about all his answers (occasionally being a little too open, like when he shared the information that he cried during the conception of each of his four children). His daughter Mia sat for a spell, to discuss whether she forgave her father for abandoning her as a child (she does), as did his longtime girlfriend (and rumored fiance), Erin Brady. But perhaps the strangest/oddly interesting part? When Tyler and Winfrey drove around in his vintage car and talked about how magical they found each other and then walked around the woods. “This is beauty to me,” said Oprah, petting some moss on a rock.
The two-hour format felt a little long, but the show will be just one hour going forward – future Oprah’s Next Chapter segments will focus on Oprah with Sean Penn in Haiti; a dinner with a Hasidic Jewish family in which none of the children had ever seen television; a trip with Deepak Chopra to India; a sleepover with Paula Deen; and a tour of Skywalker Ranch with George Lucas.
Pop Watchers, did you watch Oprah’s Next Chapter? What did you think? Will you keep tuning in? Sound off below!