August 12, 2014 11:01 AM EDT

Is it an exaggeration to say that Oprah (why did anyone ever bother giving her a last name?) is the biggest star in TV history? Certainly no one has ever done so much with the power of a camera, a philosophy (uplift, pop-psychology, confession) and a magnetic personality. Half therapist, half saleswoman and all businesswoman, Oprah leveraged her show with Warren Buffett-like skill into a financial and philanthropic empire. Even her train wrecks—Tom Cruise, James Frey—are entertaining. America’s Best Girlfriend has a supernatural gift for making you think she is talking to and about you, even when—more often than not—she is actually talking about herself, and that makes her the spirit of daytime TV incarnate.

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