Oprah to fire 180 employees, shut down Chicago office

Oprah Winfrey’s Harpo Studios in Chicago is closing down at the end of the year, with Winfrey moving all of her TV operations to the new OWN headquarters in Los Angeles.

Winfrey had been running her operation out of Chicago for 26 years, with the last five years or so being split between LA and the Windy City. Harpo Studios employs 200 people, but only about 20 will transfer to LA. The rest are shit out of luck come December. Of course, ever the compassionate leader, Opes delivered this news to the Chicago staff personally on Tuesday. This, by the way, is normally just called taking responsibility for your actions.

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Winfrey did an excellent job of acting like she cares at all about this — saying things like “[Chicago has] been everything for me. 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.” Yes, behold the magic of Oprah’s transformative powers. Worship her, for she is the bringer of life and all good things.

The rest of the interview is basically just her going on and on about all the wonderful initiatives she plans on spearheading in the future. Winfrey will almost certainly be successful because people seem to gobble up whatever she shills out en masse. So good for her, but it would be nice if she could stop pretending this is some big exciting and unknown new adventure for her. This was a business decision, plain and simple, and one that was probably in the works for quite some time.

[Adweek | THR]