The upcoming "Oprah's Next Chapter" interview with Lance Armstrong is the most talked-about TV moment of the year so far. In fact, it's probably one of the biggest cultural stories of the year, period, as embattled cyclist Armstrong sits down with Oprah to clear the air about his doping scandal.
How big? Oprah's already decided to expand the episode, set to air Thursday night on OWN, to two episodes totaling two and a half hours, saying she didn't feel she could edit it down further than that. And the mogul appeared on BFF Gayle King's show, "CBS This Morning," to address rumors about the interview's contents, and discuss the extensive secrecy precautions her team and Armstrong's took to keep leaks at bay. (Oprah specifically mentioned hiring a different driver to take her to the airport, and personally carrying the tapes with her on the plane "along with my dog food and dog leashes back to Harpo.")
But what should we really expect from this one-on-one? Oprah's not afraid to get confrontational -- her face-off with disgraced fabulist James Frey in 2006 is a talk-show skirmish for the ages. But she's since said she regrets her harshness with Frey, and King wondered on "CBS This Morning" if Oprah had landed Armstrong because of a perception that she wouldn't push him. "There was a lot of talk that you were chosen because you would not go deep, you would not go hard," King said. Can Oprah really get Armstrong to open up, or is this an Al-Capone's-vault-style bust waiting to happen?
Oprah's already claimed that "the most important questions and the answers that people around the world have been waiting to hear were answered" -- and past episodes of "Oprah's Next Chapter" have proved that she can still get the goods from the celebrities she spotlights. We've collected five of the biggest revelations from Oprah's OWN interviews -- tears, feuds, denial, and forgiveness. We can't predict whether the Armstrong "chapter" will make the list, but we know it's possible.
Rihanna forgives Chris Brown
Frequently dabbing at her eyes, pop star Rihanna took Oprah through her feelings after the infamous "incident" in which then-boyfriend Chris Brown assaulted her in early 2009 -- and Oprah frequently seemed flummoxed as Rihanna said things like, "We love each other and we probably always will," and described her feelings of protectiveness towards Brown in the aftermath. "He made that mistake because he needed help, and who's gonna help him?" Rihanna wondered plaintively. "I was more concerned about him." (Oprah, somewhat at a loss: "That is really powerful.")
But Rihanna's ability to forgive Brown -- by repairing her relationship with her father, who'd been an abusive husband but a solid dad -- is what made headlines, despite the fact that the singer's other comments still seemed more than tinged with co-dependency. (As of this writing, the pair are collaborating, and perhaps back together as a couple, but the status changes daily.)
Kelsey Grammer: Cocaine "was fun"
The episode featuring the former "Frasier" star is full of good stuff, not least the revelation that his marriage to third wife Camille was over as soon as it started (as Oprah noted, he couldn't even call her by name, referring to her as "this person"), and that he'd agreed to her "Real Housewives" stint because "she'd always wanted to be famous."
Grammer also talks at length about his sister's murder in 1975, and how he might be able forgive the men involved if only they would tell the truth about what they did.
But for our money, the biggest bombshell is Grammer admitting that cocaine wasn't all bad. Calling his relationship with the drug "a love affair," he said, "It was fun, and I was fun. It just eventually becomes something you can't keep doing." Refreshing candor, and not what you usually hear from stars in recovery.