Her confessional interview with Lance Armstrong became a global event. Now Oprah Winfrey has regained her crown as the world’s most powerful celebrity, according to the annual top 100 published by Forbes magazine.
The broadcaster-turned-media mogul topped a list which no longer has a place for Johnny Depp after the compilers adopted a new algorithm which ascribes more power to celebrities who leverage their influence through social media.
Although men dominate the top 100, with 68 entries overall, female stars colonised six places in the top ten.
It is the fifth occasion that Winfrey, 59, the former talk show host who runs her own TV network and earned $77 million last year, has headed the annual ranking of 100 celebrities.
Despite a drop of more than half her income since her talk show went off the air in 2012, Winfrey regained the top slot due to earnings from her Harpo production company and the unparalleled access to stars that her Oprah Winfrey Network enjoys.
Winfrey conducted confessional interviews with Rihanna and secured a world exclusive with disgraced cyclist Armstrong, during which the former Tour de France champion publicly admitted to doping.
“There is nobody else with that kind of consistency and power,” said Dorothy Pomerantz of Forbes.com. “She (Winfrey) is taking this cable network and turning it around just through the sheer force of her will, her connections and her ability.”
Lady Gaga came in second, followed by director/producer Steven Spielberg and the singers Beyonce and Madonna. Singer and actress Jennifer Lopez, who was No. 1 last year, dropped to 12th place.
Depp fell out of the list because his screen career has fallen into a “project hole” and due to his avoidance of social media.
The Top 100 algorithm now measures social networking power across 11 platforms including Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Orkut and Weibo. Earnings, print and television mentions and marketability are also factors.
Adele and Britney Spears dropped out of the list because they had not undertaken lucrative tours in the previous year.
Despite his 40 million Twitter followers, Justin Bieber (number 9) is considered less powerful than Bon Jovi (number 7). The rockers’ ability to gross $3 million a gig, allied to Jon Bon Jovi’s social activism, keeps them ahead of the teen idol.
Forbes also downgraded the importance of appearances on magazine covers, sending reality television stars tumbling. Khloe Kardashian is relegated from the top 100 although sister Kim, Kanye West’s partner, appears at 66 and is the only reality star in the list.
Coldplay are the highest-placed Brits on the list at 14, with Simon Cowell and David Beckham following the band into the top 20. E.L. James, the 50 Shades of Grey author, is at 42, with estimated earnings of $95 million from her erotic novels.
Roger Federer is the world’s most influential athlete. The reigning Wimbledon champion has deals with ten sponsors which collectively pay him more than $40 million annually.
Angelina Jolie, who revealed that she had undergone a voluntary double mastectomy because she carries a gene that puts her at a high risk for breast cancer, is the most powerful actress on the list at 41. However fiancée Brad Pitt misses out after devoting much of his year to completing his zombie action-thriller World War Z.
Despite hip surgery, which forced her to cut short a tour, Lady Gaga earned $80 million in the past 12 months which, along with her army of fans and powerful social media presence, assured her second place.
Top ten of the Forbes Celebrity 100:
1. Oprah Winfrey
2. Lady Gaga
3. Steven Spielberg
4. Beyonce Knowles
6. Taylor Swift
7. Bon Jovi
8. Roger Federer
9. Justin Bieber
10. Ellen DeGeneres
Video: Forbes' Most Powerful list