Oprah approached John Travolta, Will Smith & Tom Cruise for reality shows

Oprah and John Travolta
A couple of weeks ago, the news came out that Oprah’s flailing OWN network was hemorrhaging money to the tune of an estimated $312 million in debt. OWN is still hanging in there, but barely. Businessweek quoted a media analyst who said that OWN may go down as the “most successful failure in television today.” Oprah has plead with Nielson viewers to watch her channel, and now she’s pleading with her A-list friends to help her out. According to Mike Walker’s column in the National Enquirer, Oprah has approached Scientologists John Travolta, Will Smith, Kirstie Alley and Tom Cruise about potentially starring in reality shows on OWN. Wynonna Judd wouldn’t even helm a talk show with Oprah, so she’s delusional if she thinks any of these guys are going to take her up on her offer. Maybe she’s calling in some favor she did them by never questioning them about their Scientology Cult. That’s the subtext I’m getting from this story.

Finally realizing C-listers like Rosie O’Donnell ain’t gonna save her OWN sinking ship, Oprah Winfrey’s seen the light and… reached out for divine intervention for her gone-to-hell network from her closest A-list pals on the “S-List” – Scientologists Tom Cruise, John Travolta, Kirstie Alley, plus super-Scientology friendly Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith. Sources say Oprah combed desperately through her heavy hitter list, and the first she called were Scientologist pals John Travolta and Tom Cruise. “Oprah pitched John on the idea of doing a reality series that would focus on him and Kelly Preston raising their new baby,” the source says. “They she phoned Tom, wondered if wife Katie Holmes might be interested in doing a fashion and shopping show.” But so far, all Oprah’s got is: “We’ll think about it!” and she’s becoming desperate.

[From The National Enquirer, print edition, May 28, 2012]

Tom Cruise couch jump

The Enquirer gets a lot of insider information on Oprah, so I believe this. We know how well a reality show with John Travolta would go over given his very publicized legal problems for abusing masseurs and various men. Maybe he would welcome it as a way to continue his happy family facade. Kirstie Alley would probably jump at this, though, as her Lifetime show was DOA.

Oprah’s “reality shows” aren’t of the Bravo and E! variety, they’re more of the documentary “day in the life” type. I’ve only seen Shania Twain’s show on OWN, and it was incredibly boring. So I doubt these guys would have much to lose by opening up their lives for one-off Oprah specials, except for the fact that they would be associated with a reality show even if it’s not a typical one. They’re not going to take her up on it. It’s got to be hard for Oprah to realize that her celebrity friends are mostly fair weather ones.

Oprah with Will and Jada Pinkett Smith

Oprah is shown in NY on 4-2-12. Credit: Hall/Pena, PacificCoastNews.com

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37 Responses to “Oprah approached John Travolta, Will Smith & Tom Cruise for reality shows”

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  1. boobytrap says:

    see? i think most of us knew that oprah closing out her oprah show and starting this new network was a bad idea.

    lady – you had an excellent daytime show! tons of viewers, including myself. [the last season sucked large, but up until then, i loved it!].

    this is what happens when you are greedy. stick to what you do well, and you will keep doing well.

    • Chatcat says:

      Yes, greed is usually the kiss of death for most of us. So many people become successful, want more, take more, expect more and become so arrogant and greedy that it is their downfall! I mean we see this train wreck over and over and over again in humanity and people will still do it themselves! Duh

      • ZZZ says:

        I just don’t get it! I am not rich, but I am lucky enough to have a nice house, decent car and great husband and son. Other than wishing I had a bit more spending money, I am content with what I have. I have no desire for a bigger house or a fancier car. I just don’t. HOW much money do they need when they already have SO much?

      • OlsenTriplet says:

        Greed isn’t really a fair word to slap on this because Oprah is clearly not as happy personally as many other people. Unfamous people.

        I’d say this is what happens when someone’s ego gets HUGE. It’s like her own face being on every issue of her magazine. It’s all about her.

        She has forgotten that she has to provide people with the best product she can, whether that’s a tv show or a tv network. Instead, she obviously wants to keep it all about Oprah.

      • littlestar says:

        OlsenTriplet, you are so very right. Oprah has made OWN all about her. It was fine watching her talk show for one hour, five days a week. But 24/7 of her self-promoting spiritual live your best life crap is terrible and boring. Her past success went to her head and unforunately she became out of touch with her viewers. It doesn’t matter if your Oprah, people still want to view interesting TV, not boring Shania Twain reality shows.

        Gahd, if I could just take over her network for a while, I could come up with so many ideas to save that network. You need to be a creative person to make a TV network work, and I don’t think Oprah has much creativity in her.

    • Flea says:

      I agree. These would be “far from reality” shows anyway. Not a big fan of rich famous people completely lying about who they are and how they live & becoming more rich and famous for doing so either. At least when they put out a movie they are clearly acting and I’m only invested for a couple of hours.

    • Sweettart says:

      I don’t remember where I read this or what show it was about, but I remember reading about a show that had been pitched to OWN, and the programming people had a snotty attitude and said something along the lines of, “This isn’t something we would be interested in.”

      They took it to another network, and it was a huge hit.

      I don’t know the dynamics of all this, but it seems like Oprah’s people may have known how to run a successful Oprah show, but really didn’t have the experience required to be able to program an entire network.

      Just the distribution issue alone . . . I don’t even know where the Oprah channel is on my cable service.

  2. ZZZ says:

    EW! I hope there are no massage therapists in the show.

    • Maguita says:

      Now THAT, I would pay to watch… With a lot of cringing involved!

      I wouldn’t discount big O out of the game yet. The woman is a survivor, and she could still pull it off… Remember Ted Turner, when he was losing a lot of money on his networks as well? Those guys just KNOW how to thrive, especially when everyone would have given up.

      I don’t understand though how some of the more interesting ideas gossiped about did not come through: Wasn’t Jenny McCarthy going to have her own talk show? That would have been interesting.

  3. Chatcat says:

    Oprah has bought into the cult hook, line and sinker!

    • Girlygirl410 says:

      Really think she is one of them!

      • constance says:

        I have also wondered what her connection to the Scientologists has been. I think she would continue to chip away at her brand by including “reality” shows that were filled with lies for the to distract “supressive persons.”

        I can’t see her buying into the empowerment of the “church.” She has an empire bigger than their own. Maybe she fancies herself as an investigative journalist trying to crack the Co$ code? lol

  4. Marjalane says:

    Back in the “olden days”, I loved Oprahs show when it was about everyday regular people. THEN, whenever she did a “celebrity” show, she became an absolute starf*cker! So staged, so fake. Imagine the dirt she knows about these stars and STILL wants to help them foist some b.s. image off on the public.

    Reason #6452, why I hate Oprah.

    • ahoyhoy says:

      I liked Oprah the way I liked Madonna. When they were real people, coming up in the industry, they had warmth & relate-able personalities. They had their real accents & humor. Once they got a little $ and power, their authenticity AND humility just slipped away…and they have both become insufferable people who only believe their own hype. And both so fake and pretentious.
      I don’t blame Gwynnie for her pretentiousness as much, b/c that’s all she’s ever known and will know–and she’s a bit too ‘simple’ to realize how she comes off, KWIM?. But O & M know better. You’d think one day they’d just look in a mirror and remember what it’s like to be a real person again.

      Remember like 10 years ago, when that audience member told Oprah “You were nicer when you were overweight?” I wish i could remember O’s response back then, because she is MUCH farther up her own ass since!

  5. Jackie says:

    oprah’s ego has always needed a check to keep from getting ridiculously overblown. this should do it for awhile.

  6. Happymom says:

    Oprah needs to cut her losses and move on. She needs to go back to what she’s good at-and it’s clearly not running a network. The stress of this whole debacle is causing her to overeat too-trying to cover herself with a blanket/shawl-oh dear.

  7. ranya says:

    the golden goose has laid a rotten egg. this has to be the most humbling disaster she never even imagined. when will she realize it’s time to hang it up and return to her daytime slot as an overbearingly inquisitive and self absorbed talk show host?

  8. ladybert62 says:

    Oprah take what is left of your money and go away.

  9. Jacq says:

    I think with the exception of Kirstie, that it is completely pointless to approach any of that bunch because I feel like they’re living lives that are MASSIVE cover-ups. They’ll just continue to issue denials & lawyer-up, as opposed to inviting cameras into their homes. Those houses of cards would fall so fast if we knew how they really live.

    • ahoyhoy says:

      No kidding! O must not have EVER read any gossip, otherwise how could she EVER think TC & JT want cameras recording what they do? I mean seriously, did she really ask TWO deeply closeted men to do reality shows? She is a little naive, I think.

  10. Zelda says:

    Pushing a magazine. Pushing a television network. Crackerjack ideas.

    Hey Oprah, you hear about those crazy internets, yet?

    Nah, nevermind. You just get to work on that Oprah newspaper. Everyone’s gonna love that.

  11. maria says:

    it’s just that there isn’t enough content..and good content at that. When she has some cool life classes on, those are usually good, but those are on sporadically. cupcake shows and continually repeating old Oprah shows does not a great network make. It has potential, it’s just not being utlized properly.

  12. Lindy says:

    You know, I’m honestly kind of curious about this total disaster. I’m not a big Oprah fan (I cannot stand the bullshit cult-of-self/believe and you will become wealthy nonsense she peddles). Nevertheless, I *never* would have predicted that OWN would totally, completely fail like this! I mean, I guess I kinda thought Oprah was one of those “everything-she-touches-turns-to-gold” kind of celebs, with staying power.

    How did this tank so badly, and so rapidly?

    • Chatcat says:

      Jack of all trades master of none?

    • LastDaze says:

      Extremely bad planning. She admitted that she wasn’t ready to run OWN and that she did nothing to prepare for her new venture. I think she’d been “Oprah” too long and thought it would all just “fall into place.”

      • Raven says:

        Running a show is very different than running a network. The reality series about the last year of Oprah was informative about the way things came together on her show. Her staff did so much and other than generally guide, she really didn’t have that much hands-on responsibility. Her staff was very loyal and worked hard so they wouldn’t disappoint her. She walked into a situation where she needed to take a lot more hand-on decision making and leadership in ways she had not done for a long time with employees who weren’t necessarily loyal to her or familiar with what she wanted.

    • Lindy says:

      Yeah, I imagine y’all are both right. She is spreading herself too thin, and isn’t focusing on any one thing in particular. And it really does seem insanely unplanned for someone like Oprah, who is kind of a control freak. It’s like she just lost her marbles suddenly.

      • Chatcat says:

        I’m going on my soapbox of the day stand…GREED. Too many successful people become greedy…once you become greedy reality is non-existant to you.

        Somebody cheats once, gets away with it, cheats again = greedy. Somebody steals once, gets away with it, does it again = greedy. In Oprah’s case she was a successful TV personality but that wasn’t enough, she had to own a TV network = greedy.

        Moral of the story…Nothing wrong with being successful…just don’t get greedy!

  13. Peach Dancer says:

    Right, get all the nut cases together and toss them off a cliff!

  14. djork says:

    Oh, Oprah. Please take your billions of dollars, your colossal ego, your messiah complex…AND GO AWAY!

  15. Eleonor says:

    I’m not American, so I’ve never paid that much attention to Oprah, but to me this was going to be a disaster, because at a certain point all the “Oprah-centric” stuff had to end.
    The Oprah talk show, the Oprah magazine, and the Oprah network? And the main subject is? Oprah being Oprah? Bitch stop.

  16. audrey gal says:

    She needs to inject some silly fun into her network. Not every show has to be focused on spirituality or doing some good deed. Some silly sitcoms in the vein of “Hot in Cleavland” or some entertainment shows focused on under the radar musicians, or artists would be good. A fun talk show from someone with a good sense of humor who is likeable to most people. She needs to also stop showing so many repeats of Dr. Phil and Dr.Oz and also marathons of crime shows. She needs to add some new shows with new hosts to her network. If she has to have some old syndicated shows then pick up stuff like “New Adventures of Old Christine,” “Buffy,” or some older shows like Mary Tyler Moore or Maude (to appeal to the older demographic).

  17. Joe 12-Pack says:

    John Travolta, Will Smith & Tom Cruise for a reality show? Would it be “Celebrity Queer Eye For the Straight Guy”?