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Hungry Oprah

Although Phil Donahue pioneered the talk show format which Oprah Winfrey adopted (walking into the audience to solicit questions for the guests on stage), his show was mostly what cultural critic Deborah Tannen called "report-talk" (with its focus on information), whereas Winfrey's format was "rapport-talk" (with its emphasis on self-revealing intimacies). Oprah turned the focus from experts to ordinary people talking about personal issues. She also shared many stories of her own. Among her early revelations? That she had smoked cocaine, had been raped as a child, and, while struggling with her ballooning weight, had once eaten a jumbo package of hot-dog buns -- drenched in maple syrup.
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