Oprah Winfrey’s Harpo Studios has reportedly announced it plans to begin employee layoffs in December as the company looks to relocate from Chicago to the West Coast. It is said that the said layoffs would be affecting as much as 183 employees.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the decision to close down Harpo Studios in Chicago came earlier this year, two months after Winfrey’s 4-year old cable network, OWN, moved into its new office in West Hollywood. Winfrey had actually delivered the news to the Harpo staff in person. And though the lease for the Chicago office run until April 2016, Winfrey and her executives are determined to put a stop to the routine back and forth travel between the west and east coasts sooner than that.
According to the Chicago Tribune, layoffs at Harpo’s West Loop campus is expected to begin on December 11 and are expected to be completed by April 1. The layoff schedule was also stated in the monthly report that is prepared by the Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity.
The last day of production for Harpo Studios will be on December 11. Developer Sterling Bay had already acquired the Harpo space last year.
There is reportedly a small group of staff from Harpo in Chicago who will be moving to Hollywood to join OWN’s 140 employees. Of the downsizing of the Harpo business, Winfrey had told The Hollywood Reporter in March, “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.”