They’re two of the biggest names in television entertainment, with Oprah having the edge in years, but who of the two is richer?
Oprah Winfrey is the richer of the two, by a huge amount. As of 2020, Oprah boasted an incredible net worth of more than $3.5 billion, while Ellen lagged some distance behind, with less than half a billion dollars.
Read on to learn more about these two powerhouses of entertainment and wealth.
Talk Show Talent
Oprah is probably the most famous talk show host in history. While she didn’t pioneer the notion, her show ran for an incredibly long time. She also had a deeply winning persona, positively beaming with generosity, inclusion, and peace. Oprah has always portrayed an image of philanthropy, charity, and activism, and has long been named an influential figure.
While Ellen has been on the scene since 1978, Oprah has her beat. In 1973, a young Oprah Winfrey was working for news agencies, setting milestones. At an earlier local posting, Winfrey became the youngest and first black female news anchor. She transitioned around the country, making a national name for herself on small-time agencies.
First, she appeared in Nashville, then Baltimore, followed by Chicago. This is where she’d remain for a considerable amount of time, ultimately launching her own named talk show in the city. Her first talk show bit was on an already-established channel, and Winfrey quickly climbed up the polls.
By 1986, the Oprah Winfrey Show was being broadcast for the first time – nationally. Oprah was a clear-cut success, and a massive hit with viewers and critics alike. She was praised for her wit, humor, and hard-hitting dialogue. Critics also praised her obvious connections to her racial and cultural roots.
Ellen DeGeneres, on the other hand, entered the industry in an altogether quite different way. She originally had her sights set on stand-up comedy, film, and television. Her first consistent string of appearances came with a Fox sitcom: Open House. She also had a few early roles in various movies – mostly bit parts
In the nineties, she wrote, produced, and starred in her own television show. The title of the show was simply, Ellen. It ran for a fairly impressive 109 episodes, with considerable success. However, Ellen would be left bouncing from pillar to post, before she found her sweet spot in 2003, with The Ellen DeGeneres Show. She’d also go on to become a great success, leaning more on comedy to make her show a working triumph.
You can see the opening credits for Ellen’s titular television sitcom below, taken from YouTube.
Money Makes The Show Go Round
Oprah’s show ended in 2011, after running for almost thirty years. Ellen’s show, however, was still ongoing in 2020. As the Oprah show fizzled out in its later years, it understandably lost touch with the younger viewers. Conversely, Ellen’s show seemed to just gather endless steam.
When it came to marketing, the Ellen show had it down. They utilized social media, platforms like YouTube, and had on the guests that appealed to the youth and young persons. While Oprah’s interview style and guests tended to be more mature, Ellen’s remained comical, light-hearted, and strictly entertaining.
It’s no surprise that by 2020, YouGov’s users rated Oprah’s show the 14th most famous, but Ellen’s the 3rd most famous. Although, Oprah still managed to stay top of the monetary charts, even in the twilight years of her show. In 2006, she was named the highest-paid television entertainer in America, with a staggering $260 million.
In 2008, she went ahead and topped this, earning a reported $275 million. She isn’t just a mind made for television, either. Over the course of her time in the spotlight, Oprah has proven herself to be a shrewd businesswoman. She acquired shares in Weight Watchers that skyrocketed in value. She’s authored books and publishes her own magazine.
Further, she’s worked on radio, and sporadic television shows, particularly since leaving her show behind. Although, Ellen has also had her fair share of ventures. She’s launched her own lifestyle brand, taken voice acting roles, and even opened her own record label. While she doesn’t have the wealth that Oprah does, she’s certainly trying hard to compete.
As it stands in 2020, it’s unlikely Ellen will be able to catch up to Oprah. Although she claims a hefty half-billion-dollar fortune, it’s almost nothing compared to the $3.5 billion that Oprah boasts.