Now that her daily talk show is over, Oprah Winfrey's next chapter has her traveling around the world and running her OWN network from California. So what will become of the media mogul's flagship Chicago television compound, Harpo Studios?
The Chicago Sun-Times speculates that the self-made billionaire could put it on the market soon. In a lengthy piece detailing the impact of Harpo Studios on Chicago's Near West Side neighborhood, the Sun-Times points out that the only show currently taping at Harpo, Rosie O'Donnell's talk show, could move to New York, leaving Harpo vacant.
"Winfrey pulled up stakes in Chicago a year ago and moved to Los Angeles to launch her own cable network," says the newspaper, adding that Rosie's "departure could leave Harpo Studios dark."
Winfrey's departure has impacted local businesses as well. The opening of Harpo Studios back in 1989 turned the industrial area into one of the city's hotspots, complete with a restaurant scene and expensive condos. "A Winfrey taping used to draw an audience of several hundred, and many would later head to Randolph Street or Greektown restaurants. O’Donnell, in a format change, got rid of the studio audience," the article says.
While Harpo representatives won't comment on the rumors, local residents and business owners are nervous.
Meanwhile, daytime's newest host, Steve Harvey, just opened operations in downtown Chicago's NBC Tower. Pity he couldn't make use of the Harpo space and potentially help preserve a legacy.
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