Her guest - squirming in his chair, his voice rising from whine to squeak - was James Frey, the author whose memoir "A Million Little Pieces," turns out to have gotten more than a few of those pieces wrong. Or have been tweaked a little too much. Or made up out of whole cloth.
And Oprah, who had stood by the man, after handing Frey fame and fortune by picking "Pieces" for her book club, wasn't stopping until he was crispy.
Here's how Howard Kurtz in the Washington Post handled it this morning:
Oprah Winfrey, embarrassed by her defense of a memoir after it was exposed as partially fabricated, apologized yesterday and then lectured the sheepish-looking author and his publisher in an emotional hour of televised penance.
Two weeks after standing by James Frey's falsified tale of crime and drugs, the talk-show queen reversed herself following a spate of newspaper editorials and columns assailing her credibility.
Chicago Tribune blogger Steve Johnson called the broadcast "galvanizing" and reminded why Winfrey remains on top:
She retains, despite her wealth, fame and the insularity they bring, a strong moral compass and great instincts. One of the greatest of those is the ability to say, simply, "I was wrong."
"TKO" ruled a LiveJournal blogger named Tree Woman:
Tiffani called to tell me to turn Oprah on. Whoo-wee! was she ever mad! (Oprah, not Tiffani.) I've never seen her so angry in my life. She was glowering the entire show.
Gawker was moved enough to liveblog the event. It tells you what you need to know:
Oprah opens the show by saying shes sorry; she also apologizes for calling Larry King to defend Frey. And then the kicker: Oprah says to Frey, "You betrayed millions of readers." Remember how we said Oprah had totally saved Freys ass? Yeah, not anymore.
After commerical, Frey appears. Of the Smoking Gun report that broke this story, Frey says they "did a good job." He admits to Oprah that he lied to her about jail. "I made a mistake," he says.
Oprahs not satisfied and keeps pushing. Frey admits that Lilly didnt hang herself; claims that in reality she cut her wrist. "Why did you have to lie about that?" responds Oprah.
But I'm still confused how people are dragging President Bush in this.