It's not so amazing that she got James Frey to come back on the show, but I was still rather amazed he agreed to it ("come back Jimbo so we can pillory you LIVE on national television is not a persuasive phrase to me but then...I'm not quite the publicity hound he is).
What's amazing to me is that Nan Talese went. Consider this: she's not an elected official in a position of public trust who needs to account for her actions to the public. She's not going to lose her job, in fact, her company stands to make even MORE money from this "debacle". No one in their right mind is going to refuse an offer from Nan to publish a book even after this. So, why did she do it?
Nan Talese took one for the company today. Show up in Chicago; hankies all around; let Oprah score a few points for the great hoodwinked public. (No matter than any normal person reading that book has to have a few doubts. I mean, I did. You didn't??)
My guess is that if Nan or Doubleday higherups (there aren't that many more up the ladder from her actually) had said "f off Oprah" nary a Doubleday/Anchor book would ever see the light of day in Oprahland again. Indeed, Oprah might have banned all Random House books (Doubleday is owned by Random House).
That is Oprah's real power. If she so much as suggested that the largest publisher in the world would not be able to get books on her show, it becomes a very small sacrifice to send Nan over to do the mea culpa thing.
Too bad Harper didn't publish MLP. I'd give my 15% of next year's sales to see Jane Friedman on Oprah's couch. Two of out three falls, I'm betting on Jane.