Oprah Winfrey

Companies

Harpo, O magazine (co-owned by Hearst), Oxygen Media

Fun Fact:

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign once offered a history course called Oprah Winfrey, the Tycoon.

Book sales soar when she crows about one. Beef sales plummet when she has a cow about the industry's health issues. Pontiac gets an image makeover when she gives away $7 million worth of new cars. The phenomenon even has a name, the Oprah Effect. The effect of Winfrey's businesses on her bottom line is staggering too -- The Oprah Winfrey Show, which is syndicated in 109 countries, pulls in more than $300 million in annual revenue, and Oxygen Media, which she co-founded, expects revenue of $125 million for 2004. Last year, the chairman of Harpo Inc. became the first African American female to make Forbes' billionaire list.

And she gives as good as she gets -- since 1997, her public charity Angel Network (she also has a private charity, the Oprah Winfrey Foundation) has raised nearly $20 million. Despite the constant influx of fresh faces every year, Oprah consistently crushes the competition with the No. 1 rated talk show for almost 20 years. We'd start worrying if she ever decided to start a magazine. O, wait...