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Oprah Winfrey

The Oprah Winfrey Show as we knew it wouldn't have been a reality had Oprah not received a demotion early in her career. On April 1, 1977, Oprah's boss at WJZ-TV in Baltimore told her she'd no longer be an evening news anchor and would be moved to morning cut-ins. "I was devastated," she said. "I knew it was a horrible demotion." Eventually, Oprah was tapped to cohost the station's new daytime talk show, People Are Talking, a job one of her colleagues described as "the last thing in the world she wanted to do." In 1984, Oprah left the gig behind for a move to Chicago, where she hosted A.M. Chicago on her own. She soon beat TV titan Phil Donahue, the show was renamed after Oprah, and it went into national syndication. The rest is history.

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