Oprahs of the World

The queen of American talk may be ending her run, but these hosts have achieved Oprah-like status in their own countries.

Maria De Filippi (Italy)

For more than 15 years, the thin, blond, gravelly voiced Maria De Filippi has been hosting talk and gossip shows on Italy’s Canale 5, broadcast by Silvio Berlusconi’s Mediaset. She’s also the face of the popular talent show Amici, on which two groups of aspiring singers and dancers from the same high school compete against each other before a live audience and judges. De Filippi even has her own Stedman, and he’s famous in his own right: The host, 47, is married to Italian TV personality and journalist Maurizio Costanzo, 70, who also appears on Canale 5.

Koichi Kamoshida / Getty Images

Akiko Wada (Japan)

Akiko “Akko” Wada isn’t just Japan’s Oprah—she’s also been called the country’s Aretha Franklin. Tall and muscular in a society of diminutive women, the 59-year-old has released more than 70 singles and albums. She’s also hosted popular variety shows, including Akko ni Omakase (Leave it to Akko) and Beauty Coliseum, and is known and respected for speaking directly and sometimes critically of guests, in a culture in which women have traditionally been discouraged from speaking out, inspiring viewers.

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Kerri-Anne Kennerly (Australia)

The polished and poised Kerri-Anne Kennerly—affectionately known as KAK—became a household name in Australia hosting the popular TV shows Good Morning Australia and then, Midday, which became the most watched daytime program in the country. Since 2003, she’s hosted Mornings with Kerri-Anne, “combining her love of fabulous frocks and shoes with irreverent interviews with Australia’s VIPs and a caring attitude to the issues facing her audience,” her website claims. Like Ellen DeGeneres, Kennerly’s become known for convincing high profile politicians to dance on TV—and like Oprah, she’s known for her sensitive and strategic interview style. She once convinced Priscilla Presley to discuss her famous family, despite a 10-page statement prohibiting talk of ex-husband Elvis and daughter Lisa-Marie.

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Cristina Saralegui (Latin America)

Like her US counterpart, Latin America’s Oprah is known by only one name: Cristina. After getting her start in Spanish-language women’s magazines, the vivacious blond Cuban-American launched a wildly successful TV career—for years, Cristina has served as Univision’s leading talk show host, tackling juicy topics and interviewing A-list celebrities. Her talk shows have been highly influential for Latino stars: Salma Hayek and Jennifer Lopez both credit Cristina with boosting their careers. Her “Gayle” is singer Gloria Estefan. And Antonio Banderas first went public about his relationship with Melanie Griffith on her show. “I've known very little interviewers on TV that have that capacity of making you feel so comfortable and so yourself,” he’s said.

Tatiana Stefanidou (Greece)

While Oprah’s shows aren’t always highbrow, chances are she wouldn’t approve of some of the stunts Greece’s Tatiana Stefanidou has pulled on her programs. As a gossip and talk show host, Stefanidou became notorious for digging through the garbage of celebrities, then commenting on the brands they used. (What would Dr. Phil say?) The 38-year-old has also served as the face of reality shows and game shows. She currently hosts the talk show Axizi na to dis (Worth Seeing).

Cai Daizheng / Newscom

Hong Huang (China)

Born into a diplomat family—her mother was Mao Zedong’s English teacher and translator—Hong Huang has risen to become China’s media mogul and blogger extraordinaire. After attending high school in Manhattan and college at Vassar, Hong returned to China, where she became founder and CEO of China Interactive Media Group, which publishes the local fashion and lifestyle magazine iLook (and used to publish Chinese editions of Time Out Beijing and Seventeen) and produces some television programs. As a blogger, she is noted for boldly speaking her mind.

Jumanah El-Heloueh / Reuters

Nashwa al-Ruwaini (Middle East)

Like Oprah, Nashwa al-Ruwaini isn’t only a popular host, but a one-woman media sensation. Founder and head of Pyramedia, one of the Middle East’s biggest media companies, the Egyptian maven has worked as a radio DJ, television host and producer, and ushered in a series of “firsts.” She worked on the Arab world's first daily morning show and worked on the region’s first “format-based” show. She currently hosts Dubai TV’s Nashwa, a talk show that combines celebrity interviews with no-holds-barred discussion of social affairs, and she’s working to transform Pyramedia into a film production company as well. “The cultural industry's infrastructure in Abu Dhabi is (growing), and it could lead to nothing short of a magnificent future,” she told Variety.

Pierre Andrieu, AFP / Getty Images)

Bernard Pivot (France)

Sometimes, a country’s Oprah is a man. France’s Bernard Pivot, 74, has served as the face of French radio and television programs for nearly four decades. His influence has seeped into the U.S. as well: Pivot inspired Inside the Actors Studio’s James Lipton to introduce his famous list of “Proustian” questions—Pivot asked his guests an almost identical list on the French talk show Bouillon de Culture. Thanks to Pivot, we’ve learned dozens of A-listers favorite curse words, noises, and least favorite words.

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Esther Rantzen (England)

Known for her toothy grin and long legs, Esther Rantzen has been a popular broadcaster in the U.K. for more than four decades. From the early 1970s to the mid 1990s, she served as the host of the BBC’s That’s Life!, one of the most popular shows on British television during that time. It began as a lighthearted consumer program—looking into the best and shoddiest brands—and over the decades, tackled more serious investigative projects. While Oprah has only endorsed Barack Obama, Rantzen has taken a more active political role: Recently, the 70-year-old become a vocal advocate for children’s rights, and she’s currently vying for a seat in the British Parliament.

Emil Matveyev, ITAR-TASS / Landov

Oksana Pushkina (Russia)

In the late 1990s, bleached-blond television personality Oksana Pushkina was dubbed Russia’s Oprah, for her popular series Women’s Stories. On the show, Pushkina would interview well-known Russian women—often the wives of Russian leaders—about their private lives, in the format of a heart-to-heart chat. Pushkina, who trained in the US, is also an outspoken feminist and advocate for women’s rights.

Adam Ferguson, The New York Times / Redux

Rose (India)

Oprah may have been the world’s first black billionaire, but talk show host Rose is breaking barriers of a different kind in India, as the country’s first transgendered host. In a culture that has historically been intolerant of open sexual dialogue, Rose—born a boy named Ramesh—addresses taboos head-on on her late-night talk show Ippadikku Rose (Yours, Rose), from gay rights to sexual abuse to prostitution. “I want to set an example for everyone in the transgender community to look up to, and maybe try to follow,” the 28-year-old said when the show launched.