Oprah Winfrey Bumps NBA Playoffs, Welcomes Maria Shriver to United Center

By Scott, David Clark | The Christian Science Monitor, May 18, 2011 | Go to article overview

Oprah Winfrey Bumps NBA Playoffs, Welcomes Maria Shriver to United Center


Scott, David Clark, The Christian Science Monitor


Oprah Winfrey, Maria Shriver, Tom Hanks, Beyonce, and Michael Jordan were part of a star-studded cast at the Tuesday taping of two of the last Oprah Winfrey shows in Chicago's United Center.

This week, Chicago inaugurated a new mayor (Rahm Emanuel), the Chicago Bulls opened the NBA Eastern Conference playoffs against the Miami Heat, and Oprah Winfrey demonstrated who has the real muscle in the Windy City.

Tuesday night The Oprah Winfrey Show taped two shows in the United Center, as part of the lead up to next week's finale of the program after 25 years on the air.

But there was a bit of a scheduling conflict. The Chicago Bulls were supposed to also be playing in the United Center Monday night (when Oprah's crew was setting up for the Tuesday tapping). NBA vs. Oprah. Guess who moved their performance to Sunday night?

Tuesday's show was billed as a "Surprise Oprah! A Farewall Spectacular" as some of the guests were not known to Oprah. Some 13,000 fans showed up along with Hollywood's A-list to honor the Queen of Daytime TV.

Tom Hanks was the MC, for the first half of the evening. Actor Will Smith took over for the second half.

In between, Beyonce, Aretha Franklin, Jamie Foxx. Halle Berry, Tom Cruise, Madonna, Rascal Flatts, Stevie Wonder, Diane Sawyer, and Queen Latifah (among others) sang - and spoke - in praise of Oprah's contributions.

Maria Shriver, just days from announcing her separation from former California Gov. …

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