By the end of this year Oprah Winfrey’s Chicago-based Harpo Studios will be shut down, the 26-year-old studio will be transitioning to OWN headquarters in Los Angeles, Winfrey delivered the news in person to her Harpo staff on Tuesday morning.
In a phone interview from the Harpo offices in Chicago with The Hollywood Reporter, 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.”
A small group of the Chicago-based Harpo staffers will join the approximately 140 OWN employees who have moved into the network’s newly constructed three-floor space at West Hollywood’s The Lot. The latter not only offers sound-stages and post-production studios, which OWN’s previous Miracle Mile location did not, but also a rich Hollywood history: “The idea of being on the lot where Natalie Wood filmed West Side Story or Marilyn Monroe did Some Like it Hot,” says Winfrey, “you automatically feel like you’re part of a community that’s larger than you.”