essays

Oprah Throws In Towel

Chicago Sun Times headlineI don't know how this story has played in other markets but, here in Chicago, the outbreak of nuclear war would have been treated with no more angst than Oprah Winfrey's decision, announced last night, to discontinue her Chicago-based talk show.

By the time the cover of this morning's Chicago Sun-Times was laid out, people had survived the initial shock.

Thus it was only necessary to use END OF THE WORLD type in the headline.

I don't believe I've ever watched more than five minutes of an Oprah show -- but, like everyone else, I appreciate and admire the contribution she's made to Chicago and, in particular, to the redevelopment of the Near West Side where her Harpo Studios are located.

Oprah is going to discontinue her current talk show when her contract expires and then she is going to focus on her own cable network (OWN cable network... Oprah Winfrey Network... get it?).

It is as yet unclear whether Oprah will relocate to Los Angeles (where she already owns a palatial home) as part of this transformation. If she does, though, she will be just the latest to prove a sad truth about my home town: Chicago is the largest city on Earth to be from. In other words, when you really, Harpo studio Otruly make it... you still gotta go elsewhere. We could start a list of familiar names... Harrison Ford... the Cusacks, John and Joan... all the Steppenwolf Theatre alumni (Gary Sinise, John Malkovich, Laurie Metcalf, John Mahoney, et al.)... Dennis Farina... Tom Dreesen... all the Second City alumni, such as (speaking of talk shows) Bonnie Hunt... or Bill Murray... or the Belushis, John and Jim... Shelley Long... Dan Castellaneta....

I hope Oprah surprises us again, by maintaining a Chicago presence and keeping her studio here humming.

But I'm not making book on it.

Curmudgeon is a self-described dinosaur -- an Ozzie and Harriet person living in an Ozzy and Sharon world. And sometimes it confuses the heck out of him. He writes a very amusing blog at Second Effort.

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