Oprah Winfrey and Rosie O’Donnell unveil a new sign outside of Harpo Studios in September 2011. | Sun-Times file photo

Oprah’s Harpo Studios to close in December

SHARE Oprah’s Harpo Studios to close in December
SHARE Oprah’s Harpo Studios to close in December

Oprah Winfrey will not renew a lease on the longtime home of her TV talk show, Harpo Studios, and will close at the end of the year.

“Harpo Studios in Chicago was not just my home but also my life for nearly 30 years,” Winfrey said in a statement Tuesday.

“I’ve spent more time there than anywhere else. I am so proud of what we created. It has been a blessing in my life and I thank everyone who has been a part of this great run. I am now looking ahead to inhabiting the new space on The Lot in California and carrying on the legacy of Harpo Studios with OWN programming.”

The network has begun transitioning Harpo Studios productions to a new studio in West Hollywood, California.

Winfrey was in Chicago on Tuesday morning to tell the staff about the studio’s closing.

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Eligible employees among the 200 working at Harpo may apply to freelance and do contract work on the five TV shows that will move to California. Those shows are “Super Soul Sunday,” “Oprah Prime,” “Where Are They Now?,” “Oprah’s Master Class” and “Iyanla: Fix My Life.”

Harpo Studios has 170,000 square feet of studio and office space.

“In just four years, OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network has established itself as one of the fastest growing multimedia companies with an expanding programming roster and a diverse slate of robust new business ventures,” Erik Logan and Sheri Salata, presidents of OWN and Harpo Studios, said in a statement.

In March 2014, Winfrey announced she had sold Harpo Studios in Chicago to a developer, but the studio would remain on the property for another two years.

Winfrey filmed “The Oprah Winfrey Show” at the studio from 1990 to 2011, when she ended the talk show to start the Oprah Winfrey Network on cable.

About 200 people work at the 3.5-acre campus, which sold for about $32 million.

Winfrey first came to Chicago in 1984 to WLS-TV’s morning talk show, “A.M. Chicago.” A month later, the show was No. 1 in the market and renamed “The Oprah Winfrey Show” in 1985.

Winfrey moved to Harpo Studios in 1990 and is credited with transforming the once-gritty industrial area to a neighborhood filled with families and trendy restaurants.

Contributing: The Associated Press

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