Oprah did well by Bravo’s Watch What Happens Live when she made her first visit to the show Thursday night – but she’s no Orange County housewife. An average of 969,000 viewers watched Oprah visit Andy Cohen’s program as part of her march across the talk-show landscape, plugging her new film, Lee Daniel’s The Butler. That’s one of WWHL’s bigger crowds. But it’s no match for the 1.213 million who tuned in on July 29th, the 1.18 million who came on Aug. 5, or the 1.006 million on Aug. 12. On each of those nights, one or both of Cohen’s guests was a cast member of Bravo’s flagship reality series, Real Housewives of Orange County.
While maybe no match for a scenery-chewing Orange County housewife, Oprah is formidable at the weekend boxoffice, reports Deadline’s Nikki Finke, who notes that based on early trends, The Butler is looking to be the biggest grossing film for the weekend, with 72% of Fandango’s surveyed The Butler ticket-buyers saying Winfrey’s involvement increased their interest in the film.
During her WWHL visit, Cohen asked O whether her new film role was tougher than the one she’d played in Steven Spielberg’s The Color Purple. “There’s no comparison. That was almost 27 years ago … and at the time nobody knew who I was. It was easier to be on screen. Nobody was saying, ‘Gee, that’s Oprah.’ This was harder this time for me, because I’ve worked 25 years and I am Oprah, and people see me as Oprah. So to do a movie and have people not see you as Oprah — that’s hard.”