Oprah Show to Put Murdock, Research Campus in Spotlight

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(March 5, 2009) Kannapolis, NC – David Murdock and Oprah Winfrey are friends.  He has, in the past, acknowledged that, and he has even expressed interest in a partnership with Winfrey at the North Carolina Research Campus. Now, Winfrey is taking notice of what Murdock is doing with human nutrition research at the campus.

A production crew from ‘The Oprah Winfrey Show’ was in Kannapolis on Sunday to shoot interviews with researchers from UNC-Chapel Hill, Duke University and Appalachian State for an upcoming episode.

Don Halcombe, a representative for the Oprah show, confirmed the visit to Kannapolis and said the episode will focus on life extension and aging. He said it is tentatively scheduled to air later this month, but said an air date has not been set. But it seems this wasn’t a big deal for campus developer Castle & Cooke. Marketing director Phyllis Beaver said she had no comment about the visit from the Oprah crew.’It is something that has been blown out of proportion,’ she said when asked about the visit.  And Castle & Cooke has told the researchers not to talk about the interviews either.’I’ve got to stick with what Castle & Cooke says,’ said David Nieman, director of ASU’s Human Performance Laboratory.

This is not the first time daytime television has put Murdock in the spotlight. Last July, Martha Stewart visited Kannapolis to meet with Murdock and tour the research campus. In November, Murdock appeared on her show and Stewart presented Murdock with an award for his work to promote healthy living. Prior to Stewart’s visit, however, Castle & Cooke raised a ruckus by asking the Convention &
Visitor’s Bureau to take down the banners marking the Dale Trail, which marked places in Kannapolis where NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt grew up.

Castle & Cooke and the CVB said the banners needed to come down because they were battered and worn. But Earnhardt fans were outraged, saying Kannapolis was denigrating the memory of their beloved driver. The controversy swarmed the Internet and blogosphere, forcing Kannapolis city staff, who had nothing to do with the incident, to respond personally to comments made on the Internet.

Contact reporter Ben McNeely: 704-789-9131 Comment on this story online at www.independenttribune.com