Oprah's Billions: Adding Up the Money

Last Updated May 24, 2011 9:39 AM EDT

When Oprah Winfrey airs her last nationally syndicated television show, she will leave an immense financial legacy. Not only did Oprah create a massive fortune for herself, she enriched others and was a brand-builder of extraordinary proportions. In honor of her last show, here is Oprah by the numbers!
  • $2.7 Billion: Oprah's net worth
  • $290 Million: Amount Oprah earned from March 2010-2011
  • #130: Oprah lands at number 130 on the Forbes 400 list of the richest people in the US. She's #420 among the world's billionaires
  • 42: Number of women on the Forbes 400
  • 4: Number of self-made wealthy women on the Forbes 400 (Oprah, plus three others)
  • 9: Oprah's ranking on the list of self-made billionaire women in the world
  • 44 million: The number of weekly viewers in the US of Oprah, the top-rated talk show in television history
  • 150,000 - 300,000: Number of viewers tuning into Oprah's new cable channel, OWN
Oprah Alum: Either directly through her production company, Harpo Productions, or by featuring them as guests on her show, Winfrey helped launch or greatly enhance, a number of television personalities including Dr. Phil McGraw, Rachael Ray, Dr. Mehmet Oz, Nate Berkus and Suze Orman. Here are some of their numbers:
  • 2: Dr. Phil is the # 2-rated daytime talk show, behind you-know-who
  • 18: Dr. Phil is # 18 on the Forbes 100 list of richest celebrities
  • $80 Million: Amount Dr. Phil earned from March 2010-2011
  • 3.4 million: daily viewers of Dr. Phil Show, according to Nielsen
  • 6: Number of #1 New York Times bestsellers penned by Dr. Phil
  • 3: Rachael Ray hosts the # 3 rated daytime talk show
  • $60 Million: Rachael Ray's estimated net worth
  • 3.2 million: daily viewers of the Rachael Ray Show, according to Nielsen
  • 14: Ray is the 14thMost Powerful Person in Food
  • 50: # of appearances by Dr. Mehment Oz, before Harpo launched The Dr. Oz Show
  • $3 Million: Dr. Oz's estimated annual earnings (from his TV show only)
  • 1.2 million: Although a disappointment in the world of Oprah, 1.2 million viewers are tuning into designer Nate Berkus' show daily
  • $32 Million: the estimated net worth of Suze Orman
  • 19: number of books written by Suze Orman
Brand-Builder: While not as obvious as Carrie Bradshaw's love affair with Jimmy Choo shoes, Oprah's "Favorite Things" segment has propelled esoteric brands into the mainstream. Here are just a few:
  • Spanx: in 2000, the Atlanta-based underwear company sold $50 thousand products in just three months after being featured on Oprah
  • Garrett Popcorn: After Oprah talked about the company in 2002, the company's sales spiked by a staggering 100 percent
  • Kindle: Oprah touted the Kindle in October, 2008 - Amazon credits the mention, plus the Oprah viewer $50 discount, as the main reason the company sold out of inventory during the 2008 holiday season
Publishing Giant: The Oprah Book Club may be one of the most interesting of her financial legacies. Winfrey has been a one-woman boost for the beleaguered publishing industry since 1996. Authors soon clamored to be chosen as an Oprah Book Club selection and it's no wonder. Here are stats about the Oprah Winfrey Book Club:
  • 65: total number of books selected
  • 22 million: number of copies of Oprah Book Club books sold in the past ten years
  • 3.4 million: number of copies sold "A New Earth" by Eckhart Tolle (#1 OBC)
  • 2.7 million: number of copies sold "A Million Little Pieces" by James Frey (#2 OBC)
  • 2 million: number of copies of "Night" by Elie Wiesel (#3 OBC)
Photo courtesy of Story Accents' photostream on Flickr
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    View all articles by Jill Schlesinger on CBS MoneyWatch »
    Jill Schlesinger, CFP®, is the Editor-at-Large for CBS MoneyWatch. She covers the economy, markets, investing or anything else with a dollar sign. Prior to the launch of MoneyWatch in 2009, Jill was the chief investment officer for an independent investment advisory firm. In her infancy, she was an options trader on the Commodities Exchange of New York.

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