Rosie O'Donnell relocating to Oprah studio

March 29, 2011 8:37:49 PM PDT
Oprah Winfrey's West Loop studio won't be empty for long when the 'Queen of Talk' retires her show in May. Rosie O'Donnell is moving in, and that's a relief for employees and businesses in the neighborhood.

When Oprah announced plans to stop taping her show in Chicago, businesses that grew up around Harpo Studios wondered about their futures.

After a recession in which some businesses didn't survive, word that Rosie is coming to town is welcome news.

Harpo Studios is an international destination, thanks to Winfrey. Oprah has been good for business in the West Loop. Now local businesses get ready for Rosie O'Donnell.

Some Harpo staffers will stay on to work on Rosie's new talk show.

The manager at Jupiter Outpost Cafe is glad to hear her regulars may still have work locally, and perhaps bring in a new crowd with Rosie's show.

"It's good to hear to that there will be something huge coming in the spot," said Rachel Smith, Jupiter Outpost Cafe.

Harpo staff and visitors have helped the West Loop community grow over more than two decades.

Joanna Sobran owns MXO Tech, an IT consulting firm in West Loop. She's also a resident and member of the West Loop Gate Community Organization.

"I was concerned that there would be yet another condo building in the West Loop. So this is great. And I think Rosie has such a wonderful following of her own," said Sobran.

Along Randolph Street, two of the West Loop's well known restaurants recently closed.

Hearing Harpo will continue drawing visitors is exciting for Vivo's owner. The restaurant has been on Randolph for 20 years. Owner Dan Krasny has much gratitude for the loyalty of Winfrey and her staff. And now he welcomes Rosie.

"For us, it's great. It's just going to bring more to this area. It's just going bring everybody's focus back again that there's something new going on," said Krasny.

Oprah Winfrey said of the new show: "I'm delighted to welcome Rosie to the studio I've called home for so many years. Speaking from experience, she will be working with the best team in television in one of the greatest cities in the world."

Rosie's show premiere's in the fall. It will be a one hour daily talk show that will air air on the Oprah Winfrey Network.

The final original episode of Winfrey's show is scheduled to air May 25. Winfrey opened the studios in 1990.