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Oprah Winfrey hosting Ozempic TV special after WeightWatchers controversy: ‘A very personal topic for me’

Oprah to Tackle Ozempic Craze in ABC Special: 'A Very Personal Topic For Me'
Oprah to Tackle Ozempic Craze in ABC Special: 'A Very Personal Topic For Me'

This topic will no longer be weighing on Oprah Winfrey’s chest.

Winfrey, 70, who was recently trimmed from the WeightWatchers board of directors after admitting she uses a weight-loss drug, will tackle the controversial topic of prescription weight-loss injectables like Ozempic, Mounjaro and Wegovy in an upcoming ABC primetime special.

“An Oprah Special: Shame, Blame and the Weight Loss Revolution” will air on March 18, featuring the billionaire, medical experts and patients discussing “the radical impact” of prescription weight-loss drugs in front of a live studio audience.

Winfrey showed off her slimmed-down figure at the Golden Globes in January. FilmMagic
Winfrey showed off her slimmed-down figure at the Golden Globes in January. FilmMagic

“It is a very personal topic for me and for the hundreds of millions of people impacted around the globe who have for years struggled with weight and obesity,” Winfrey, who is also an executive producer on the project, said in a statement.

“This special will bring together medical experts, leaders in the space and people in the day-to-day struggle to talk about health equity and obesity with the intention to ultimately release the shame, judgment and stigma surrounding weight,” she concluded.

The special seeks to tackle the following questions, according to the network: Why is obesity designated a disease? Who are the medications really intended for? Who is eligible to receive weight-loss drugs? What should folks ask their doctors? What are the short-term and long-term side effects? What are the supply chain challenges and the impact on those with diabetes? Why is there shame surrounding taking medication, and what is the future of these medicines in our society and culture?

Winfrey once claimed that people using Ozempic were “taking the easy way out.” AP
Winfrey once claimed that people using Ozempic were “taking the easy way out.” AP

Winfrey finally admitted to using a weight-loss drug — although she never specified which one — in an interview with People in December.

“I now use it as I feel I need it, as a tool to manage not yo-yoing,” she revealed.

“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.”

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

Months earlier, however, she said those who use Ozempic to lose weight were taking the “easy way out.”

Oprah Winfrey attends “From the Page to the Stage and Beyond: A Discussion of the nearly 40-Year Legacy and Impact of ‘The Color Purple'” at the 2023 ESSENCE Festival of Culture. Getty Images for ESSENCE
Oprah Winfrey attends “From the Page to the Stage and Beyond: A Discussion of the nearly 40-Year Legacy and Impact of ‘The Color Purple'” at the 2023 ESSENCE Festival of Culture. Getty Images for ESSENCE
Winfrey attends the Grammys on Feb. 4. Getty Images for The Recording Academy
Winfrey attends the Grammys on Feb. 4. Getty Images for The Recording Academy

Last week, “The Color Purple” producer announced she was leaving WeightWatchers’ board to “eliminate any perceived conflict of interest around her taking weight-loss medications.” She had been an investor with the company since 2015.

The already-struggling diet company’s shares plummeted nearly 25% upon the announcement.

Winfrey has been vocal about her weight struggles through the years. As of December 2023, she said she was just seven pounds away from her 160-pound goal — even though she insists “it’s not about the number.”

“An Oprah Special: Shame, Blame and the Weight Loss Revolution” airs March 18 on ABC at 8 p.m. EST and streams the next day on Hulu.