Stepping to the forefront of a national tragedy and mustering her considerable influence, Oprah Winfrey will host a two-night special Tuesday and Wednesday on the aftermath of the killing of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police. The special will be simulcast on 18 Discovery Networks channels, including OWN.
The "town hall" special — “OWN Spotlight: Where Do We Go From Here?” (starting at 9 o'clock on both nights) — will include, among other guests, Stacey Abrams, the former Georgia House representative and a rising star in the national Democratic Party (Abrams has also been mentioned as a potential Joe Biden running mate). Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and Color of Change founder Rashad Robinson will also be part of the two-night town hall.
Tuesday's OWN special will be simulcast on networks that don't typically devote airtime to civil rights, much less two nights of it, including MotorTrend, American Heroes Channel, Great American Country, and Animal Planet. Nevertheless, all 18 channels — along with another half-dozen online platforms, such as OWN's YouTube — represent millions of global viewers, potentially many millions.
In a statement, Winfrey said, “I’ve been having private conversations with friends and thought leaders about what’s next and where we go from here. I thought it would be both of interest and service to bring their ideas, concerns and comments into a national spotlight.”
Winfrey addressed Floyd's Memorial Day killing while in police custody during the May 30 edition of her online series, "WW Presents Oprah's Your Life in Focus," where she said that for "those of us who have the ability to be seen, it is incumbent not to just be outraged [or] not enough to say 'Oh, this is terrible.' " She added that reform would not happen "Until we're all willing to speak up and say that that will not happen on my watch [and] we're willing to do the work to dismantle in our way the constructs of injustice."
Other talk show programs on Monday announced special editions, including "Tamron Hall" (10 a.m., WABC/7), which on Friday will "showcase the voices of young Americans who are marching, protesting, and demanding change."
Georgia Rep. John Lewis and filmmaker Ava DuVernay (who will also be part of the OWN town hall) were on Monday's edition of "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" that was devoted to the protests.
Meanwhile, each of the major commercial networks — broadcast and cable — are expected to air Floyd's funeral live from Houston starting at noon Tuesday.