ABC Prime Time Is Next Stop For Oprah's Weight-Loss Journey

The journey of America’s most famous weight watcher makes a stop on ABC Monday night for a special that will have her taking on today’s hottest topic in weight loss -- the impact of the prescription medication revolution.

Can’t guess who it is? It is Oprah Winfrey, 70, who will be hosting “An Oprah Special: Shame, Blame and the Weight Loss Revolution” from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. eastern.

The pre-taped show is styled as a series of conversations conducted before a live studio audience with medical professionals and ordinary people.

The roster of participants in this ABC show includes two ABC medical correspondents -- Drs. Jennifer Ashton and Darien Sutton. 



The special comes on the heels of two dramatic turns in the Winfrey weight-loss journey.

First was the attention-getting interview last December in People magazine in which she divulged that she too has begun taking a weight-loss medication.

She did not identify which one, however -- likely because she did not want to turn this magazine interview into a platform for a brand endorsement.

But the news that one of the world’s most influential and trusted public figures has endorsed the use generally of prescription weight-loss medicines (known generically as semaglutides) was seen as a major step forward for the category.

Then, in a move that can be interpreted as a symbol of this weight-loss revolution, Winfrey last month stepped down as a board member at WW International, parent company of Weight Watchers, and said she would be selling all her shares.

WW shares fell 20-25% on the news.

When Oprah bought into WW in 2015 with a stock purchase estimated then at 10% of the company’s shares, she also became a potent symbol of the company and its spokesperson.

But the meteoric rise of the semaglutides has overtaken and weakened the Weight Watchers diet-based model for weight loss that depended on a combination of self-control and adherence to programs designed by WW to regulate and restrict calorie intake.

In the People magazine story, Oprah explained why she turned to the medications for help. 

“It was public sport to make fun of me for 25 years,” she said. “I have been blamed and shamed, and I blamed and shamed myself.

“The fact that there’s a medically approved prescription for managing weight and staying healthier, in my lifetime, feels like relief, like redemption, like a gift, and not something to hide behind and once again be ridiculed for. 

“I’m absolutely done with the shaming from other people and particularly myself,” she said.

In the interview, she emphasized that she uses the unidentified prescription drug along with adopting other health practices and habits as part of a healthy lifestyle of which the medication is but one part.

The semaglutides, designed and marketed mainly for managing diabetes, have become one of the most conspicuous categories of product advertising on TV. They are on constantly. 

The one that seemed to get there first was Ozempic with its memorable “Oh, oh, oh, Ozempic!” musical refrain taken from the old 1974 single “Magic” by the band called Pilot (“Oh, ho, ho, it’s magic!”).

Ozempic is one of three semaglutide brands marketed by Novo Nordisk. The others are Wegovy -- which, like Ozempic, is an injection-based medication -- and Rybelsus, a tablet.

Two others are from Eli Lilly -- Mounjaro and Zepbound, both injectable medications.

“An Oprah Special: Shame, Blame and the Weight Loss Revolution” airs Monday, March 18, at 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. on ABC.

Next story loading loading..