Oprah Winfrey says Justin Bieber is a pop phenomenon like the Beatles or Elvis or Michael Jackson, but also radically different because his fandom is boosted by the impact of social media. The talk show host and now network chief is reflecting on the significance of the teen superstar in light of an episode of Oprah's Next Chapter airing Sunday in which she sits down for an in-depth talk with the Biebs.
It might be time that someone actually talks to the lad in something more than soundbites. Too many Justin Bieber quotes come from press conferences in which multiple scribes shout questions at him, to no great purpose. He may actually be the relatively wholesome and intelligent person he appears to project.
Oprah is giving nothing away ahead of Sunday's broadcast, except for a few of her questions. She'll pose doozies like "Do you feel that people are rooting for you or waiting for you to make a mistake?" and "How do you figure out who you are when you're growing up in a fan frenzy." Both vintage Oprah. And she'll push him a bit on his relationship with Selena Gomez.
But she hasn't released more than a word or two of Bieber's answers, so there's no knowing whether there's anything there to be revealed. And that's vintage Oprah, the businesswoman. Her 1993 interview with Michael Jackson went live around the world within 24 hours. And she'd like her 2012 interview with Bieber to do the same, because her OWN network is up there in the subscriber channels and not drawing the audience she dreamed of. For the first time, Discovery Networks International is carrying the show and showing it around the world and she wants to start out that relationship with something that millions of fans cannot pass up.