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After interview, Oprah Winfrey’s warming up to the Kardashians

Oprah Winfrey tapes an episode OWN show 'Oprah's Next Chapter' with Kardashian family June 12 2012. Handout photo.

Oprah Winfrey tapes an episode of the OWN show "Oprah's Next Chapter" with the Kardashian family on June 12, 2012. Handout photo.

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Updated: July 29, 2012 5:03PM



Even people who despise Kim, Khloe and Kourtney Kardashian — and their mom, Kris Jenner — have to admit the reality TV stars are brilliant when it comes to turning themselves into a mega-successful marketing brand that brings them an estimated $60 million-plus annually.

That’s one of the reasons Oprah Winfrey bonded with the Kardashians when high-profile clan taped a two-part interview with the TV queen for her OWN network. Now Winfrey’s spokeswoman confirms the host will return the favor by appearing on an upcoming episode of “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” on E!

A close Winfrey source told me the television powerhouse was surprised by how quickly she connected with the Kardashians and enjoyed being in their company. While she found Khloe to be extremely funny, the source added, “Oprah — of all people — deeply respects people who, like herself, have built a major business in the entertainment industry. In particular she was intrigued by Kim and how she has expanded that Kardashian brand — both for herself and for the entire family.

“Of course, Kris Jenner’s brilliance in originally creating and marketing the Kardashian brand also impressed Oprah.”

That said, methinks Gayle King is not in any danger of losing her status as No. 1 BFF in Oprah’s life!

WHAT A SHOW! It looks like a big, splashy musical based on the life of Cher — and starring the superstar — is moving ahead nicely. Cher herself has taken to Twitter to wax poetic about the idea, which Billboard reports is expected to arrive on Broadway sometime next year and will be staged in three acts.

The first will showcase an actress portraying Cher during the early years of her career, when she and ex-husband Sonny Bono captured fans’ hearts with their hit singles and “Sonny & Cher” TV variety show.

The second act will focus on Cher’s “Believe” middle years, and the third will be all about the contemporary Cher — with the Oscar winner interacting with the two other actresses and giving advice to her younger self.

BERRY BUCKS: The ongoing, nasty custody battle between Halle Berry and ex-beau Gabriel Aubry is getting closer to closure. Now that a judge has ordered the actress to pay Aubry $240,000 in annual alimony payments, it appears Berry’s plans to move with the ex-couple’s daughter Nahla to France — along with Berry’s fiancé Olivier Martinez — will proceed fairly quickly.

Ironically, Aubry long had said money wasn’t an issue in his fight with Berry — but it obviously did play a big role.

REVEALING STUFF: Channing Tatum is laughing off the claims by two of his former stripper buddies that he ripped off their story — so to speak — for his “Magic Mike” stripper film that opens Friday.

While in town recently to promote the movie, Tatum explained that “99 percent of this film is completely fictional. The only real-life aspects are that I did briefly work in a Florida strip club, I did sleep on my sister’s couch and I did play football in college.”

According to those involved in the production, the two Florida male strippers who have loudly complained that Tatum swiped their personal stories to make “Magic Mike” have been looking to make a buck off the popular actor for a long time

“Ever since it was announced that Tatum was going to make this movie with Steven Soderbergh, those guys figured they could capitalize on it and make some serious cash. When they realized that just wasn’t going to happen, they got mad and went to the tabloids,” said a source close to Tatum.

Joe Manganiello, best known for playing the werewolf Alcide on the TV vampire series “True Blood,” also zipped through town with Tatum to boost “Magic Mike,” in which he plays a character known as “Big Dick Richie.”

Laughing off questions about the exact reason for that name, Manganiello did turn a bit serious when he discussed his research for the film. “I did talk to a buddy who used to strip. Frankly, it sounded so depressing. Sure there was the adulation when you were on stage, but it was so temporary and basically pretty degrading — since you knew the women out there only were looking at you as a sexy freak show.

“Plus, my friend told me how the guys would do so much speed to make them always be ‘up’ on stage. Let’s face it, it’s a dead-end career, and the guys in it have a pretty short shelf life.”

SEEN ON SCENE: The Bears’ Robbie Gould and Adam Podlesh were seen having a great time Monday at Down the Line rooftop for the “Gould Touch” event benefiting Cubs Charities. … Comedian Finesse Mitchell proved he has one heck of an appetite, chowing down on an 18-ounce prime Kansas City strip steak Wednesday at Harry Caray’s on Kinzie. The funnyman was in town to attend Kerry Wood’s charity event that night. … Ex-“Bachelorette” Ali Fedotowsky, who hosts NBC’s “1st Look,” lunched al fresco at Hub 51 Wednesday with a couple of galpals.



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