The Oprah Winfrey empire is crumbling in Chicago. According to published reports, the 61-year-old media mogul laid off 200 employees and shuttered the famed Harpo Studios in Chicago (Harpo is Oprah spelled backwards).
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Oprah is moving what’s left of her conglomerate to her OWN Studios in Hollywood.
OWN (which is co-owned by Oprah and Discovery channel) and Harpo Films on the west coast will absorb some of Harpo’s Chicago employees — the ones who decide to uproot their lives and make the transition to the west coast.
From The Hollywood Reporter:
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.”
Oprah tells THR she plans to ramp up her acting career, no doubt in an effort to secure an elusive Oscar Award and other acting accolades.