The man who discovered Oprah, Dennis Swanson, former Chicago TV exec, recalls how it all unfolded in 1983:
“Well, you know, she had the best attorney in Baltimore, Ron Shapiro, who handled Brooks Robinson, a lot of the Orioles, who were a championship team at that time. The tricky part of it was, her contract didn’t expire until the end of the year. But then, the people that had the contract had a 60-day option in there, and I said to Shapiro, I said, ‘We’ll wait till January 1, because she’s worth waiting for, but I can’t wait the 60 days beyond that.’ He negotiated out of that. We put her on the air the first of January, and we were in last place when we put her on the air – and we won the February (ratings) less than a month later.”
Click on the attached link to find out more about the role SNI Chairman, Ron Shapiro, played in the early years of Oprah Winfrey’s career.