In a lengthy interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Winfrey revealed that she “removed myself” from 60 Minutes, which she joined in 2017 as a special contributor (she was part of five segments on the news program, last appearing in 2018).
“I’d actually gone to [former 60 Minutes executive producer] Jeff Fager prior to the whole CBS [demonstrates an explosion] and said I was going to be working with Apple and that it didn’t mean I would never do something [with 60 Minutes] but I would probably be taking all of my energies and putting them into whatever I wanted to do at Apple,” she told THR of her budding partnership with the media conglomerate. “It was an interesting experience for me. I enjoyed working with the teams, and I’m probably going to work with some of the freelance people on my Apple stuff, but it was not the best format for me.”
Winfrey remembers how she would have to “practice saying my name and have to be told that I have too much emotion in my name.” “I think I did seven takes on just my name because it was ‘too emotional,'” she told THR. “I go, ‘Is the too much emotion in the ‘Oprah’ part or the ‘Winfrey’ part?” I had a deja vu moment because I’ve actually lived through this once before when I covered a story as a young reporter [where] the family had lost their home and my boss told me that I reported it with too much emotion. I had too much emotion in the story. I thought, ‘Okay, so you’re not supposed to be involved in the story, I get that. You’re a journalist.’ But the same thing is true even with a read [at 60 Minutes]. They would say, ‘All right, you need to flatten out your voice, there’s too much emotion in your voice.’ So I was working on pulling myself down and flattening out my personality … which, for me, is actually not such a good thing.”
CBS declined to comment.
At the time of her hiring in 2017, Fager said he hired Winfrey because of her “unique and powerful voice.” “There is only one Oprah Winfrey,” he said in a statement. “She has achieved excellence in everything she has touched. Her body of work is extraordinary, including thousands of interviews with people from all walks of life. She is a remarkable and talented woman with a level of integrity that sets her apart and makes her a perfect fit for 60 Minutes. I am thrilled that she will be bringing her unique and powerful voice to our broadcast.”
Fager was ousted in late 2018 amid sexual harassment allegations. His departure came just two days after then-CBS Corp. chairman and CEO Leslie Moonves was booted from the company.