Australia pays to bring Winfrey to Sydney 'Oprah' House
Tuesday 14 September 2010
Australia paid 2.3 million US dollars to bring American megastar Oprah Winfrey with her famed chat show - and its screaming audience - to the country to boost its global profile, officials said Tuesday.
Winfrey told an ecstatic American studio audience of 300 they would be flown to Australia to film episodes of her show during a tourist dash which would take in beaches, vineyards, Sydney Harbour and the city's "Oprah" House.
"We'll sail Sydney Harbour, some will sample shiraz in Aussie wine country and others will shop till they drop in trendy Melbourne," the chat show queen told the crowd.
"We'll get up close with kangaroos and koalas, kick back on some of the world's most beautiful beaches and experience... the Great Barrier Reef."
Some of last episodes of the popular talk show, which is winding up after 25 seasons, will be shot during the eight-day adventure, culminating in recording at Sydney Opera House.
The December trip has been almost a year in the planning and Tourism Minister Martin Ferguson said it would receive more than 2.5 million dollars (2.3 million US) in government funding.
"I think it's money well spent," he told reporters Tuesday.
Ferguson said the trip by Winfrey's show, which screens in 145 countries, would showcase Australia to the world and act as a drawcard for visitors.
"This truly represents an amazing opportunity to showcase Australia, the warmth and hospitality of our people and the depth and breadth of everything our country has to offer visitors from around the world," he said.
Hollywood star John Travolta was on set for the surprise announcement, emerging in a captain's uniform from the cockpit of a mock Qantas jet, as Winfrey said: "He's the pilot!"
Travolta is a qualified pilot and ambassador for Qantas, but the flagship national airline later clarified that he wasn't able to fly the group over because he was expecting a baby with wife Kelly Preston at that time.
"We look forward to flying the Oprah show correspondents and over 300 of Oprah's most loyal viewers to Australia on our fleet," Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce said.
Winfrey, 56, was ranked the world's most powerful celebrity by Forbes magazine this year, outclassing actress Angelina Jolie and singer Beyonce Knowles.
She is due to launch her own television channel, the Oprah Winfrey Network, in 2011.
Broadcaster unveils Christmas scheduleTV
Review: Posh journalists just can't get enough of each otherTV
Jeff Fletcher found fame in 1990s
'At times I thought he was me'film
Review: One Direction, Fourmusic
Review: The World of Ice and Firebooks
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Tamir Rice: 12-year-old boy playing with fake gun dies after being shot by Ohio police
- 2 To help fuel their propaganda machine against the poor, our government has now decided to redefine the word 'welfare'
- 3 Halle Berry takes ex-boyfriend Gabriel Aubry to court for allegedly trying to make daughter look less African-American
- 4 Isis propaganda image showing 'abuse of Muslim woman by soldiers' is actually taken from Hungarian porn film
- 5 'You should come to my house and eat cheeses with me': 4-year-old sends adorable love letter to girl at school
Black Mirror Christmas special: Jon Hamm episode will see people 'blocked' in real life
True Detective series 2: Rachel McAdams cast in female lead as 'no-nonsense' detective
Zoella: YouTube sensation Zoe Sugg's debut novel expected to become overnight bestseller
Naked free runner captured in breathtaking photographs above London's streets
Posh People: Inside Tatler, BBC2 - TV review: Fundamentally not just about posh people
Rochester by-election: Ukip gains second MP as Tory defector Mark Reckless holds seat
'Beast of Bolsover' Dennis Skinner takes Ukip MP Mark Reckless to task moments after he is sworn in
Rochester by-election: Labour MP Emily Thornberry resigns after posting white van and England flags tweet
France 'blocks' Russian sailors from boarding a warship
The young are the new poor: Sharp increase in number of under-25s living in poverty, while over-65s are better off than ever
Revealed: How the world gets rich – from privatising British public services