Seen the show, watched the movie? Now read the magazine  It's what the US has been waiting for: the gospel according to Oprah

If ever there was a brand waiting to be turned into glossy print, Oprah must be it. Now O is born.

Seen the show, watched the movie? Now read the magazine  It's what the US has been waiting for: the gospel according to Oprah

If ever there was a brand waiting to be turned into glossy print, Oprah must be it. Now O is born.

By David Usborne

18 April 2000

Newsstands across America will be sagging a little lower this week as one more magazine fights for space and the attention of readers amid all the competition. And, without question, it will be a heavyweight. And it is not just a matter of numbers - no fewer than 850,000 copies will be printed of issue number one.

The real weight of this newcomer, which launched yesterday with 324 pages, of which an impressive 166 will be advertising, has to do with its masthead. This is O, The Oprah Winfrey Magazine. If ever there was a brand waiting to be translated into glossy print, Ms Winfrey, surely, is it. Indeed, perhaps the real surprise behind this launch may be that there is not a Winfrey magazine already out there.

It has been 15 years since Winfrey first burst into America's consciousness with her daily television show, which is now seen by 22 million viewers a week in the US and reaches markets in 119 other countries. Britain, of course, is among them. Over that time she has also become an Oscar-nominated actress, a film producer, an internet investor, and a book club entrepreneur.

Through all of that, the Winfrey message has remained remarkably focused. To some it may seem preachy and cloying, but it surely has an audience. It is directed entirely at women and it is about inspiring them to overcome adversity, to brush away negativity and to make more of their lives. The formula has been most especially potent in the US, where self-improvement and fulfillment is a national religion.

"We've heard the sermon on the mount," University of Mississippi professor and magazine analyst Samir Husni remarked, "They are writing the gospel for her now."

The gospel is a joint effort of Ms Winfrey's own Harpo Entertainment Group and Hearst Magazines. It will begin life as a bi-monthly, but there are plans for it to go monthly from September. Winfrey herself claims to spend up to six hours a day helping to craft the new title, although she has a team of full-time editors charged with bringing out the magazine that will bear her name.

Rumours of tensions at the magazine have been circulating for weeks, with claims and counter-claims about too many editors spoiling the broth. Winfrey is said to have exasperated her staff with her tendency toward perfectionism. Pieces that she deemed condescending had to be rewritten way beyond deadline, and photographs were canned because they contained items not to her taste. She spied an ugly bowl in the background of one and some candles in another that were too garish. Winfrey also has the last word in her advertising department. She has banned all tobacco advertising, for instance.

The birth of O is itself proving rather muted. Apparently, Hearst has learned a lesson from last year's debut of Talk, the Tina Brown-edited monthly it co-owns with Miramax. That came into the world with a star-studded party on Liberty Island. O's arrival was celebrated only with a party last night in a Manhattan loft.

The idea, says publisher, Alyce Alston, is to have "a small wedding and a big anniversary". She added: "Everything we did was looking at the long term, we really want to have a strong year, or two years or five years. Overhype doesn't do anyone any good. It doesn't demonstrate anything."

The prospects would seem powerful. The hope is not just to attract Ms Winfrey's huge TV audience, but to widen it with women who are younger and more affluent, many of whom don't watch Oprah because they are working. Officially, the magazine is meant as a "personal growth guide" for women aged 25 to 49. "It's about making a difference in your life," Alston says. "It's about the passion of your inner life."

Every cover will feature Oprah herself - a formula successfully tried by that other American brand, Martha Stewart, who has her own Martha Stewart Living magazine. And she will write two regular columns opening and closing each issue, "Let's Talk" and "What I Know for Sure".

If Hearst and Harpo are having any last-minute doubts, they might remind themselves of this: when Oprah was featured in 1998 on the covers of Vogue and Good Housekeeping, they sold 810,000 and 1.4 million copies respectively - best sellers for both titles in that year. Giving her a title of her own is likely to go down as the least risky magazine venture in history.

News
Tommy Ramone performing at The Old Waldorf Nightclub in 1978 in San Francisco, California.
peopleDrummer was final surviving member of seminal punk band
Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur
fashion

Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes

Sport
The Mexico chief finally lets rip as his emotions get the better of him
world cup 2014
Sport
German supporters (left) and Argentina fans
Final gives England fans a choice between to old enemies
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Voices
Spectators photograph the Tour de France riders as they make their way through the Yorkshire countryside
voicesHoward Jacobson: Line the streets for a cycling race? You might just as well watch a swarm of wasps
Life and Style
lifeHere's one answer to an inquisitive Reddit user's question
News
peopleDave Legeno, the actor who played werewolf Fenrir Greyback in the Harry Potter films, has died
Sport
Mario Balotelli, Divock Origi, Loic Remy, Wilfried Bony and Karim Benzema
transfersBony, Benzema and the other transfer targets
Sport
Yaya Touré has defended his posturing over his future at Manchester City
News
Detail of the dress made entirely of loom bands
news
Life and Style
beauty
Sport
There were mass celebrations across Argentina as the country's national team reached their first World Cup final for 24 years
transfersOne of the men to suffer cardiac arrest was 16 years old
Arts and Entertainment
Armando Iannucci, the creator of 'The Thick of It' says he has
tvArmando Iannucci to concentrate on US show Veep
News
A mugshot of Ian Watkins released by South Wales Police following his guilty pleas
peopleBandmates open up about abuse
Sport
Basketball superstar LeBron James gets into his stride for the Cleveland Cavaliers
sportNBA superstar announces decision to return to Cleveland Cavaliers
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

(Junior) IT Systems Administrator / Infrastructure Analyst

£28000 - £32000 per annum + pension, 25 days holiday: Ashdown Group: A highly ...

Sales Engineer - Cowes - £30K-£40K

£30000 - £40000 per annum: Deerfoot IT Resources Limited: Sales Engineer - Cow...

Web / Digital Analyst - Google Analytics, Omniture

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My client who are a leading publisher in...

Sales Perfomance Manager. Marylebone, London

£45-£57k OTE £75k : Charter Selection: Major London International Fashion and ...

Day In a Page

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice