The most powerful talk-show host in American history had flexed her muscles and won a bet with someone named Piers Morgan from CNN. She beat Morgan to the punch to book Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick.
Perhaps Oprah Winfrey and Morgan missed the fact that Vick has done numerous national television interviews. Or maybe Winfrey simply thought she could do it better. In the end, Vick likely canceled his appearance on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" for that very reason. He didn't think the reward of having Oprah's support was worth the risk of what might happen if she tried to take his redemption tale to the next level.
Phil Sheridan of the Inquirer thinks Vick made the right decision in leaving Oprah high and dry. And the more I think about it, he's probably right.
"But what if it went bad?," asks Sheridan. "What if audience members -- many of whom may be immune to Vick's charms on the field -- turned hostile? What if Winfrey and her producers decided it would be good television to bring one of the dogs rescued from his Bad Newz Kennelz onto the set? Some of the people who have adopted those dogs have been very critical of Vick; what if one of them caused Vick to lose his composure or, worse, his temper?
"Still, the Eagles gave their approval. Vick's willingness to address what he did has been a big part of his image rehabilitation. If he thought this was the right thing to do, then fine. But that doesn't mean there wasn't a sigh of relief when Vick called the team Wednesday to say that he had changed his mind. The appearance was off."
I don't recall seeing a Winfrey audience turn hostile. That seems like more of a Jerry Springer thing, but Sheridan makes a good point. Vick has come too far in his image and football rehabilitation to take this type of risk. He needs to continue to do interviews on his terms.
Oprah tends to do things on her own terms, and that's why she has a TV network and a magazine named after her. If Vick wants to appeal to the female demographic, perhaps he should follow his teammates' lead and appear on ABC's "The View." Those interviews always seem to involve lots of hugs and fawning questions. Or so I'm told...
Vick's story will be told for the rest of his life. And the good news is that Morgan's back in the game. You hated to see Oprah crush him so early in the proceedings. For now, he'll just stick with Seacrest.