Happy Birthday, Oprah

Oprah Winfrey got more than just a huge, star-studded party for her 50th birthday -- she also got her best overnight ratings since Dec. 13, 1996, according to King World Productions research.

On Thursday, Jan. 29, Oprah’s 50th birthday bash scored an 11.4 rating/25 share according to Nielsen’s primary run weighted metered market average. That was more than good enough to give King World’s The Oprah Winfrey Show first place in 54 out of 55 markets across the country.

Late-night star Jay Leno rolled out Oprah’s birthday cake, and Tina Turner, John Travolta and Stevie Wonder all serenaded the talk-show queen. The party will continue on Friday, Feb. 6, when Oprah gives her audience a behind-the-scenes look at her birthday weekend, held at her ranch in Santa Barbara.

Coming for February sweeps are "Oprah’s Pop Star Challenge" featuring American Idol’s Simon Cowell, Oprah’s Most Romantic Man Search with Nick Lachey and Jessica Simpson, and the cast of Sex and the City Says Good-Bye.

Paige Albiniak

Contributing editor Paige Albiniak has been covering the business of television for nearly 25 years. She is a longtime contributor to Next TV, Broadcasting + Cable and Multichannel News. She concurrently serves as editorial director for entertainment marketing association Promax. She has written for such publications as TVNewsCheck, The New York Post, Variety, CBS Watch and more. Albiniak was B+C’s Los Angeles bureau chief from September 2002 to 2004, and an associate editor covering Congress and lobbying for the magazine in Washington, D.C., from January 1997-September 2002.