On Sunday, Winfrey made her debut as a "special contributing correspondent" on 60 Minutes as part of the show's 50th(!) season premiere. The former talk show host and OWN network guru introduced her new "Divided America" segment, effectively reinserting her esteemed voice into the political and social sphere after the beloved Oprah Winfrey Show came to an end in 2011.
In her debut appearance, Winfrey traveled to Michigan to facilitate a conversation among 14 people of diverse racial and economic backgrounds, and explore their differing opinions about Trump's presidency, the media, popular culture and politics in general. Half of them had voted for Trump; the other half had not.
"Every day I love him more and more," one pro-Trump voter said. "I still don't like his Twitter attacks ... but at the same time his actions speak louder than words and I love what he's done to this country."
Another woman — a self-described "lifelong Republican" who could not bring herself to vote for Trump and cast a "protest vote" for Hillary Clinton instead — described his presidency as "an embarrassment." "I think that we look like we're a joke to all the foreign leaders," she said.
Winfrey spent three hours with the participants (all of whom received $100 in payment) and covered topics such as Trump's proposed ban on transgender people serving in the military, his response to the events in Charlottesville, Virginia, and the investigation into Russia's interference in the 2016 election. Noting that many of the participants adhered to the regional philosophy of being "Michigan nice" (though the discussion did get heated at some points), Winfrey acknowledged that the participants remained at an impasse at the end of the evening.
"As wonderful as this has been, I think we're going to be just as divided. I fear civil war," one woman said at the end. Several of the other participants agreed with her.
Winfrey had previously been a guest of Mike Wallace's 60 Minutes segment in 1986, the same year her eponymous show got its start. She announced that she'd be joining the seasoned broadcast series in January by saying, "I'm so excited and proud to join forces with this historic news program, which for me represents the bastion of journalistic storytelling. At a time when people are so divided, my intention is to bring relevant insight and perspective, to look at what separates us, and help facilitate real conversations between people from different backgrounds."
If Sunday's debut is any indication, the "Divided America" segment is doing just that. Many of the participants appeared grateful that they were able to have a civil discussion with each other about these complicated issue, and expressed a desire for politicians in Washington to do the same. They predicted that divisions in the country would only get deeper over the coming months and years.
Said one: "I don't see a light at the end of the tunnel."
(Full disclosure: TVGuide.com is owned by CBS.)
Additional reporting by Amanda Bell