*The last tie linking Oprah Winfrey to her adopted home of Chicago is about to be severed.
In an interview with the Hollywood Reporter today, Winfrey revealed Harpo Studios in Chicago will be shut down by year’s end in favor of a transition to OWN headquarters in L.A.
This move will bring Harpo’s 26-year run in the Windy City to a close.
“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 told THR.
The talk-show host and actress, 61, added: “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.”
Around 200 employees will be impacted by the closing of the Chicago offices. The report adds that a “small group” of Chicago employees will join OWN.
OWN just recently moved into its new space at West Hollywood’s The Lot. Winfrey noted that top OWN execs had been going back and forth between Chicago and Los Angeles and that she wanted all her operations in one place. She also said her 4-year-old network and plans to expand further.
The interview also notes that Winfrey will soon see how much time she has to get back in front of the camera on the big screen, including an upcoming Richard Pryor biopic.
The New York Times reported that Winfrey was in talks to make her Broadway debut in a revival of the Pulitzer Prize-winning play ‘night, Mother, opposite five-time Tony Award winner Audra McDonald, but she told THR she decided to stay away from the project due to its morbid nature.
The two-person play by Marsha Norman, who penned the book to The Color Purple (on which Winfrey was lead producer) would’ve cast Winfrey as a mother struggling to stop her daughter (McDonald) from committing suicide.
Oprah said she will head to New York City soon to look at other projects and shows.