Oprah Winfrey Is Leaving Chicago…and 200 Employees Behind

She will move OWN to Los Angeles full-time soon

By Francesca Bacardi Mar 03, 2015 8:42 PMTags
Oprah Winfrey Ray Tamarra/Getty Images

It's the end of an era.

Oprah Winfrey is bidding her longtime home, Chicago, adieu, now that her Windy City-based Harpo studios are transitioning full-time to their new location in West Hollywood, according to The Hollywood Reporter. In a phone interview with Harpo offices in Chicago, Winfrey said that she will miss the city that has been the setting for her shows.

"[Chicago has] been everything for me. I've spent more hours in this building than I have any other building on Earth," she said, as quoted by THR. "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]."

Her network, OWN, will reportedly stop shooting its shows on Tuesday, but the media mogul is looking forward to starting fresh in California.

"The time had come to downsize this part of the business and to move forward," she continued. "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."

The move will affect approximately 200 employees, who will remain on staff through December. But a small group of the Chicago-based employees will join the 140 OWN employees in L.A. The Lot, Oprah's new location, will also offer the network a rich history.

"The idea of being on the lot where Natalie Wood filmed West Side Story or Marilyn Monroe did Some Like It Hot," she said, "you automatically feel like you're part of a community that's larger than you."

Although spearheading OWN will remain Oprah's main priority, she will also continue to pursue her other interests, which include passion film projects such as Selma and Lee Daniels' The Butler. She will also appear in front of the camera again in Ava DuVernay's Queen Sugar. The drama will follow a "spirited woman" who leaves her wealthy lifestyle behind to claim an inheritance from her father, which comes in the form of an 800-acre sugarcane farm in Louisiana.

She also hopes to incorporate more scripted programming at the network because she loves "telling the real stories of peoples' lives."

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