Preparations for Oprah's 'Australian Adventure' Just About Ready
SYDNEY -- The venue is booked, the invitations have gone out, there’s been a glitch with the transport provider, but all is near readiness for the final phase of Oprah’s Ultimate Australian Adventure when the talk show queen brings her program to Sydney on December 14.
Few details about the itinerary for Oprah Winfrey and her 300 American guests on their 10-day Down Under trip have been revealed, but they’ll be welcomed by at least 6,000 lucky fans from the 270,000 who applied in an online ballot in the U.S. and Australia for tickets to the taping of two episodes of the program at the Sydney Opera House. A third show will be filmed at an undisclosed outback location.
Twelve days ago it was looking like they may not even get here, after Australian airline Qantas grounded its fleet of Airbus A380 jets following a mid-air engine failure en route form Singapore to Sydney. That problem has since been found to be the fault of the planes Rolls Royce engines, with checks on all A380s under way.
A spokesperson for The Oprah Winfrey Show at the time said “We are grateful that everyone aboard Qantas flight QF32 is safe and there were no injuries to passengers or crew. The safety of our trip attendees is our first priority. We have been in touch with Qantas and are discussing all our travel options for our December trip. We will continue to monitor the situation closely.”
Qantas has yet to conform when the A380s will start flying again but is replacing the A380s with Boeing 747s on long haul international flights.
It was the A380 that was the centerpiece of Oprah’s on-air announcement of the Ultimate Aussie Adventure in September.
But the mishap didn't stop John Travolta, a qualified pilot and Qantas ambassador, from joining in the company’s 90th birthday celebrations here last week.
Qantas is one of handful of commercial partners of Oprah’s Ultimate Australian Adventure, who have paid around $3.5 million to be part of the “adventure and who are prepping for the marketing windfall that’s expected to come from her visit.
Tourism Queensland is currently developing a range Queensland travel packages which will “mirror the destination and experiences” that will appear in Winfrey’s programs.
One such destination is reportedly Mt. Mulligan, a working cattle station in the northern Queensland outback. While filming was under way there in the last week, it has been denied that the shoot was for Harpo but instead for the National Geographic.
Meanwhile some fans who missed out on tickets to the Sydney shows may get a second chance through ticket returns or unclaimed tickets. Others are hoping an online petition will convince Winfrey to tape another show, while American Express Australia has organized a competition to provide someone who dedicates their life to helping others with a $100,000 grant. Seven finalists will be selected and given a pair of tickets each to the Opera House tapings and will also be filmed to appear on the shows.
Local PR firms Eckfactor and Momentum2 have been appointed to manage the local and international media who are expected to follow Winfrey’s 450-strong retinue around the country, while a local production partner is expected to be announced shortly.