The Oprah Winfrey Show’s Best Moment: A Flashback to 2004

Oprah Winfrey’s self-titled daily talk show, “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” was on the air for a quarter of a century, between 1986 and 2011. Insider Monkey is going to take you back to her best moment on TV, below.

The year was 2004, where Oprah was set to begin her nineteenth season, and her audience of 300 loyal fans was ecstatic as usual. What follows, though, is one of the most hair-raisingly touching moments in talk show history.

Yes, it’s the car giveaway. More details after the scene.

The best part of this entire sequence is that Oprah Winfrey¬†and her film crew essentially faked out the viewers by calling 11 strangers “at random” up on the stake. Upon learning that each of the guests would win a Pontiac G6 with a ticket price of just over $28,000 at that time.

With no hesitation, Oprah then added another wrinkle–that there was one more car to give–before surprising the entire audience with a G6 in spectacular fashion.

On the flip side, each winner was expected to pay a tax somewhere in the neighborhood of $7,000, according to CNN Money. While giving up the car was most certainly an option, anyone who did not want to keep the prize could’ve also simply sold the car, and used the cash to pay for the tax.

Although it’s unknown what the majority of audience members did, it’s estimated that The Oprah Winfrey Show’s gift cost somewhere in the range of $7 million to $8 million. Nine years later, this total comes out to north of $9 million when adjusted for inflation; a small fraction of Oprah’s total net worth of $2.8 billion.

That’s the equivalent of you or I buying a used 1990 Buick. How’s that for perspective.
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