CHICAGO (Reuters) – Oprah Winfrey surprised her talk show audience attending the premiere of her 25th and final season on Monday with an all-expenses-paid eight-day trip to Australia.
Some 300 audience members clapped, cried and hugged as Winfrey announced the trip and introduced pilot-actor John Travolta, who stepped out of a mock-up of a Qantas Airways jet rolled onto the stage.
“I started to think about where would I most want to go. Maybe I should take all of you with me to the other side of the world … We’re going to Australia! We are going to Australia! You and you and you and you, are going to Australia!” she said.
Some of her show’s staff will also be flying to Sydney in December, where the Sydney Opera House will be transformed into the “Oprah” House for a taping of her show.
Previously, the famously generous Winfrey has given each audience member a new car, and recently handed staff members of her “O” Magazine Apple iPads and $10,000 checks. She has also handed out school scholarships, money for homes, and financed a school for girls in South Africa.
In a surprise to Winfrey, Paul Simon turned up to perform a rewritten version of a song dedicated to her.
“The Oprah Winfrey Show” is syndicated to 215 domestic stations by CBS Television Distribution and to 145 countries by CBS Studios International.
Winfrey won’t be off the airwaves after her talk show ends, as her Oprah Winfrey Network is set to kick off on cable on January 1.
(Reporting by Andrew Stern; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)