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FOR SALE?!?: Oprah’s Harpo Studios In Chicago To Be SOLD…



Filed under : Entertainment

I hope this ain’t true!

Whenever I visit Chicago, Illinois, without fail I go to Oprah Winfrey‘s Harpo Studio on 110 North Carpenter Street,  which is near west side of Chicago. For inspiration.

A few years back, I had a chance to go inside Harpo Studio for a taping of The Oprah Winfrey show and got to meet the queen of media herself!

Me outside Harpo Studios. Rain, sleet, snow…a girl gotta do what a girl gotta do!

Oh and when she opened up her offices for her new television channel, OWN in L.A….yup, you got it! I visited those as well (still tryna get to Tyler Perry’s production studios in Atlanta.)

According to the folks at Shadow & Act, daily newspaper, The Chicago Sun-Times  ran an interesting article about the current status of Oprah’s Harpo Studios.

Oprah purchased the facility which was originally once an armory and later a makeshift production studio. The media mogul converted the facility into a state-of-the-art television and mutimedia production facility. And it is a sight to behold!

During the run of The Oprah Winfrey show (from September 8, 1986 for 25 seasons and 4,561 episodes to the final episode aired on May 25, 2011), the studio reinvigorated the surrounding neighborhood. So what was once a run down, largely forgotten area of meat packing plants was transformed into trendy area complete with expensive condos, restaurants and high-end fashion stores and boutiques. Because of Harpo Studios.

However after Oprah ended her talk show, she put her $5.6 million Gold Coast condo (near North side of Chicago) on the market and moved to Montecito, California (she already had a her spectacular estate dubbed “The Promised Land” there for several years)  to run OWN. Well, Rosie O’Donnell moved to Chicago to use Harpo Studios for her current OWN talk show.

However Rosie‘s show has stopped production at Harpo. Apparently Ms. O’Donnell has already sold her Chicago area home and the show is being relocated to New York. Low ratings and, according to sources, the difficulties of getting celebrity guests to come to Chicago to tape the show forced the OWN to move the show. Of course Oprah certainly had no trouble bringing celebrity guests to Chicago to do her show. That’s the O factor at work!

Now the Harpo Studios is dark and inactive. So what’s next for the state-of-the-art television and mutimedia production facility?  Put it up for sale? Maybe? According to one realtor quoted in the Sun-Times piece:

“the property would draw interest from a number of buyers from those who would want the production facilities for their own to those who would tear it torn for a high-rise”

Another realtor was quoted saying:

“with property investment picking up, the studios would find a new use quickly”

It remains to be seen what the fate of Harpo Studios will be. Only Oprah knows. But it is not a cheap line-item because of the enormous financial overhead that an idle production facility brings.

And knowing Oprah, she will go with her gut feelings….

 

farai – who has written posts on Farai Today.


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