updated 08/15/2006 AT 6:00 PM ET
•originally published 08/15/2006 AT 7:30 PM ET
When Rachael Ray’s new talk show kicks off in September, one very special guest will be in the house: Ray’s friend and mentor, Oprah Winfrey.
On Aug. 3, Winfrey, 52, made a surprise stop at the New York City set of Ray’s show, where she hung out for the entire taping, met the audience, got a full tour of the set and shared some on-air coffee talk with Ray.
Afterwards, Winfrey, who rarely appears on other people’s shows, headed to the airport for a flight to South Africa, where she is working on her Leadership Academy for Girls, due to open in January.
Ray’s hour-long syndicated program, The Rachael Ray Show, premieres Sept. 18. The episode with Winfrey will air during its first week.
However, the show will not be celebrity-driven. Ray, 36, says she expects guests, including her husband, lawyer and musician John Cusimano, to relax and get their hands dirty by cooking with her or playing foosball.
The show is coproduced by King World and Winfrey’s Harpo production company. On advice Winfrey has given her, Ray said last month, “She tells me to be myself. She doesn’t chime in or call up and say, ‘This is how you can be more like Oprah.’ She’s pretty busy with her own job.”