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The Globe and Mail

Double celebrity whammy: Oprah and the Donald in Toronto at the same time

Oprah Winfrey talks about her cable network in New York, April 14, 2011.

George Burns / OWN

If there are traffic jams in downtown Toronto Monday, blame it on the double celebrity whammy: Oprah Winfrey is dropping in for a self-help tour to prop up her ailing cable channel while the Donald Trump and his business-minded brood are snipping the ribbon for the opening of a hotel.

"Oprah's Lifeclass: The Tour" will focus on life lessons that have guided Ms. Winfrey's career and personal life. The queen of daytime television could probably use a pep talk herself. She's struggling to rescue her specialty channel, OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network, from dismal ratings. In recent weeks, staff was slashed, back offices were restructured and Rosie O'Donnell's talk show was cancelled.

And then there was the minor PR fiasco when Ms. Winfrey took to Twitter to ask her nine million followers, saying "Every 1 who can please turn to OWN especially if u have a Nielsen box." (Nielsen ratings measure audience sizes for television programming in the U.S.). And Ms. Winfrey was forced to delete the tweet, in case it biased some audiences into tuning into OWN.

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In spite of that kerfuffle, tickets for the Toronto leg of her high-profile tour sold out in minutes, spurring organizers to add an early morning show that also sold out quickly. Last week, online resellers offered tickets ranging in price from $100 to $1,599 each, depending on proximity for a woman known for encouraging viewers to "live your best life."

Meanwhile, Mr. Trump and his children Donald Jr., Ivanka and Eric, will also descend in Toronto for a ribbon-cutting ceremony of the Trump International Hotel and Tower, near Bay and Adelaide streets.

With files from the Canadian Press

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