Oprah Winfrey bolting from Chicago for left-wing Hollywood, California, comes as no surprise. The move will result in layoffs for about 200 employees.
Oprah will be closing her Harpo Studios in Chicago and consolidating her company’s production efforts in Los Angeles where her OWN company is headquartered.
The closing of Harpo Studios where Oprah produced her talk show will end a 26 year run in Chicago.
The Hollywood Reporter broke the news.
The news, which Winfrey delivered in person to her Harpo staff on Tuesday morning, comes two months after her burgeoning cable network moved into a new space in West Hollywood. Though the Chicago lease continues through April 2016, Winfrey and her key executives intend to stop the back-and-forth routine they’ve been balancing for nearly half a decade sooner than that.
In a phone interview from the Harpo offices in Chicago, Winfrey acknowledges a mix of excitement and nostalgia. “[Chicago has] been everything for me. I’ve spent more hours in this building than I have any other building on Earth. … We were here when there was nothing but hoes and rats on the street, and now it’s one of the hottest neighborhoods [in Chicago],” she says, noting that OWN will stop shooting shows there as of Tuesday. “The time had come to downsize this part of the business and to move forward. It will be sad to say goodbye, but I look ahead with such a knowing that what the future holds is even more than I can see.”