That crazy radio preacher was right about the rapture coming after all. He was just off by a few days.
Judgment day came Wednesday as Oprah Winfrey was carried bodily into heaven by a host of angels.
Well, not quite.
But Oprah's final hour of broadcast TV did have the feeling of a televangelist's show as she stood alone on stage and preached the message she's developed over the past 25 years.
That message is decidedly mixed. At one point she talked about how all of us are beings of "energy," yet several times she had to remind the studio audience that she wasn't giving them a car, and there wasn't anything under the seat for them.
Wednesday's finale didn't feature big-name guests. Celebrity worship was another of the downsides of Oprah's show. It wasn't just about real people, of course; although Oprah might say she was showing these celebs she hobnobbed with were real people.
Early on in Wednesday's hour, she touched on her greatest strength, speaking of a letter she got from a viewer in Ann Arbor, Mich., the first week that her show went national a quarter-century ago.
She wrote: "Oprah, watching you be yourself makes me wanna be more myself."
Though she was an enormous star and a successful business person, it was her humanity, from her weight losses through her weight gains, that connected her to an overwhelmingly female audience.
One of the things lost in her heavily hyped farewell is that she isn't going away. She has her own cable channel, which has been troubled by low ratings since it launched this year. Her task now is to get that channel going in the right direction by the time she launches her own show their in January.
But even if OWN doesn't thrive, I'm guessing we'll have Oprah with us for a long, long time.
The Oprah farewell continues: The Oprah Winfrey Network, which will eventually be Oprah's new TV home, is marking the big change with special Oprah-themed programs nightly at 7 through May 30, and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. over the Memorial Day weekend.
Time Warner Cable subscribers can find OWN at Channel 66, Channel 279 on DirecTV and AT&T U-Verse, and Channels 189 or 885 on Dish Network.
Scott explains his "Idol" departure: This video from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee School of Education offers Milwaukee "American Idol" hopeful Scott Dangerfield – and Riverside High School student teacher – talking about why he dropped out of this year's competition earlier in the season:
On TV: Channel 4 has revamped its website, offering a more streamlined look at the day's news, and tying in Facebook and Twitter. But I'd expect a better coordination with corporate sibling JS Online.
- TV Guide reports that VH1 is bringing "Pop-Up Video" back after a 10-year absence from TV, ordering 60 new half-hour episodes. Also returning: "Behind the Music."
- Anna Kournikova has joined NBC's "Biggest Loser" as a trainer. And if you missed it, opera singer Olivia Ward won the latest installment of "reality" weight-loss competition on Tuesday night after losing 129 pounds.
- It looks like Chris Meloni is leaving "Law & Order: SVU" after he couldn't reach a deal to remain with the show.
- Liberal talker Ed Schultz is on a one-week unpaid leave from his MSNBC TV show after calling conservative pundit Laura Ingraham a "right-wing slut" on his syndicated radio show, which airs weekdays at 11 on Racine's WRJN-AM (1400).
Trying all the tools that are out there: Channel 4's innovative morning duo of Susan Kim and Vince Vitrano are masters of Twitter and Facebook, using social media to tie together viewers of their daily broadcast into a community.
They're also doing a daily YouTube feature, called News Burst! It's clearly an experiment, and it may not be around in six months. But it's evidence that news organizations – and savvy folks like Kim and Vitrano – are looking to use the available tools in a changing media landscape.
Here's the latest of their daily news summaries delivered in a non-traditional way:
Tim Cuprisin is the media columnist for OnMilwaukee.com. He's been a journalist for 30 years, starting in 1979 as a police reporter at the old City News Bureau of Chicago, a legendary wire service that's the reputed source of the journalistic maxim "if your mother says she loves you, check it out." He spent a couple years in the mean streets of his native Chicago, and then moved on to the Green Bay Press-Gazette and USA Today, before coming to the Milwaukee Journal in 1986.
A general assignment reporter, Cuprisin traveled Eastern Europe on several projects, starting with a look at Poland after five years of martial law, and a tour of six countries in the region after the Berlin Wall opened and Communism fell. He spent six weeks traversing the lands of the former Yugoslavia in 1994, linking Milwaukee Serbs, Croats and Bosnians with their war-torn homeland.
In the fall of 1994, a lifetime of serious television viewing earned him a daily column in the Milwaukee Journal (and, later the Journal Sentinel) focusing on TV and radio. For 15 years, he has chronicled the changes rocking broadcasting, both nationally and in Milwaukee, an effort he continues at OnMilwaukee.com.
When he's not watching TV, Cuprisin enjoys tending to his vegetable garden in the backyard of his home in Whitefish Bay, cooking and traveling.