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Oprah Winfrey kicks off 50th anniversary of ’60 Minutes’

Shonda McClain | 9/26/2017, 6:30 a.m.
“60 Minutes” kicked off its 50th season with a new correspondent – Oprah Winfrey. And no one was more excited ...
Oprah Winfrey

“60 Minutes” kicked off its 50th season with a new correspondent – Oprah Winfrey. And no one was more excited than the Mighty O, who tweeted: “BIG night. My FIRST segment on @60Minutes — watch with me. Tweet, tweet. #60minutes.”

Winfrey made her “60 Minutes” debut with a piece on America’s deep political divide. The segment, titled “Divide,” brought together a panel of Americans in Michigan with divergent political views – seven who voted for Donald Trump and seven who did not. They discussed everything from the Russian investigation and health care to hate crimes. She then asked them to “look into your crystal ball” about the future of the country.

Earlier in the week, Winfrey talked about her new role with the venerable newsmagazine on “CBS This Morning.”

“As someone whose grown up watching ‘60 Minutes’ since I was a young girl, not even knowing the power, the impact, the value of the reporting, and then becoming a young reporter myself in my 20s, in Baltimore, ‘60 Minutes’ was, I would say, for the first 20 years of my career, like a religion,” Winfrey said. “Your Sunday was complete after Andy Rooney had finished his piece and you heard that clock. So, to be a part of this esteemed group of story tellers is one of the great honors of my career, I would have to say.”

The TV titan first appeared on “60 Minutes” in 1986, at the height of her syndicated daytime talk show, which ran through 2011. She said she believes it was her interview on the show that solidified her career and made her a star.

“I think if ’60 Minutes’ comes a calling, and you haven’t committed a crime, and they’re just doing a story about you, you don’t get more break out than that,” she continued.

For the past three decades, Winfrey has built a television empire that began with the popular, Emmy Award-winning “Oprah Winfrey Show.” After ending her daily talk show in 2011, the former journalist launched the Oprah Winfrey Network, which has grown with the help of hit shows like “The Haves and Have Nots,” as well as “Greenleaf” and “Queen Sugar.”

But, Winfrey told Entertainment Weekly, joining “60 Minutes” is like coming home. “I missed the connection to the people – where you get to hear both sides and get people to listen to each other. I want to help create a platform where people on all sides can be heard.”

“60 Minutes” airs Sundays at 7 p.m. on CBS.

Follow me on Twitter @ShondaMcClain.