Oprah’s “Lifeclass”: A Relaxed, Funnier, More Intimate Oprah

Oprah will soon be more accessible to her fans than ever. Oprah’s new show, “Lifeclass,” premiers on her cable network, OWN, on Monday night at 7 p.m.

“Lifeclass” showcases Oprah in the role she has long felt to be her true calling: teacher. In each hour-long episode, Oprah explores life lessons learned from interviews and guests from 25 years of talk shows and her own personal experiences. She’s certainly qualified to teach. Who has led a bigger living laboratory of fulfillment and personal growth than Oprah?

I attended a preview of “Lifeclass” at Harpo Studios. The theme of the episode was “Life Speaks to You in a Whisper.” Oprah built a case for the importance of being aware of our intuition and staying present with what’s going on in our lives—using footage from past talk shows to demonstrate how ignoring these messages can lead to disaster.

Without the hyped-up studio audience and big deal set, “Lifeclass” gives Oprah a chance to connect with her viewers on a more personal level. The change in pace must be agreeing with her, because I was struck by how relaxed she seemed. She’s funny, she’s irreverent—she even swears a little! There’s a feeling of “hey, let’s just kick off our shoes and cut to the chase about what really matters here.” And, of course, it’s fun to get the behind-the-scenes scoop about what Oprah was really thinking while she interviewed those guests and how her realizations have changed her own life.

But “Lifeclass” is meant to be more than Oprah bestowing her wisdom upon her audience. The real hook is that it’s interactive. Immediately after watching the show, viewers can join a live online discussion with Oprah on her website or Facebook, share their own experiences through online discussions and wall posts, and most importantly, learn from each other. With digital course assignments and a companion journal, “Lifeclass” is intended to be a personal growth experience for the masses.

Oprah kicks off “Lifeclass” on Monday with a powerful episode titled “Fat Wagon and the False Power of Ego” where she takes a hard look at an incident she now deeply regrets—pulling a lard-filled wagon onstage, representing her first major weight loss. During the premiere week, there will be a different episode each weeknight, culminating in a “Joy Rising” celebratory show on Friday.

To find the OWN network, go to the channel finder on oprah.com/own.

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