Oprah Winfrey to Shut Down Harpo Studios in Chicago

PHOTO: Oprah Winfrey appears on "Good Morning America," Aug. 7, 2014.Ida Mae Astute/ABC
Oprah Winfrey appears on "Good Morning America," Aug. 7, 2014.

Chicago is "everything" to Oprah Winfrey. It's where the media mogul became a superstar and where she first planted her showbiz roots.

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But in an interview with the Hollywood Reporter posted today, Winfrey revealed Harpo Studios in Chicago will be shut down by year's end in favor of a transition to OWN headquarters in L.A. This move ends Harpo's 26-year run in the Windy City.

OWN just moved into its new space at West Hollywood's The Lot.

"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 told the magazine.

The talk-show host and actress, 61, added: "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."

Winfrey noted that top OWN execs had been going back and forth between Chicago and Los Angeles and that she wanted all her operations in one place. OWN has been around for the past four years and plans to expand further.

Around 200 employees will be impacted by the closing of the Chicago offices. The report adds that a "small group" of Chicago employees will join OWN.

The interview also notes that Winfrey will soon see how much time she has to get back in front of the camera on the big screen, including an upcoming Richard Pryor biopic. As for Broadway rumors, Winfrey told the magazine she decided to stay away due to the morbid nature of the play "night, Mother." She will head to New York City soon to look at other projects and shows.