Emanuel: Rosie’s Departure Won’t Stop Improvements On West Side

CHICAGO (CBS) — Mayor Rahm Emanuel is expressing disappointment, but not dismay, at word that Rosie O’Donnell’s television show may leave town.

As WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports, even though Mayor Emanuel is disappointed that the show may be relocating to New York, he says he is still committed to development on the Near West Side, where the Harpo Studios complex she has been using is located.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports

“We just made a recent investment, as you know, in the Malcolm X community college becoming the school of health care,” Emanuel said. “We will continue to make other investments on the West Side as it relates to our culture and entertainment, and sustain that as part of our economic engine for the West Side, and there will be other announcements as the days come on in the weeks ahead that will accentuate that.”

Harpo Studios is located at 1058 W. Washington Blvd. Oprah Winfrey opened the studio in 1990, and used it to tape her talk show until she ended the run of her daily talk show last year.

When Harpo Studios opened, the infamous skid row a block south on Madison Street was hardly gone. But the studio received widespread credit for revitalizing the area.

O’Donnell launched her talk show on Winfrey’s OWN Network just last October, and took up shop at Harpo Studios. But initially impressive ratings quickly dropped, and changes were implemented, including the elimination of the studio audience. Staff were also laid off.

Following the announcement that O’Donnell’s Lakeview home had been sold, published reports said that she would move the show, and its jobs, to New York. O’Donnell’s staff have not confirmed the reports.

The program has kept employees working at Harpo Studios, but a spokeswoman wouldn’t verify how many employees still work there, saying “we do not comment on rumor and speculation.”

  • Chester

    the first step in ‘hood rehab is removing the blight. Now that she is leaving, whch in and of itself will improve the area, improvements can start rolling in.

  • iris

    One word..”Bye”.

  • the rapture

    Rosie is leaving Chicago – one word comes to mind:


  • there, there

    Don’t worry, Rahm… you’ll still be able to watch her “show.”

    • Jessica

      I don’t think anyone watches her show now…anyway the idea that she can get bigger name guests on the East Coast is a bunch of ….

  • Silver

    Are we that shallow that one would believe that property values and continued development of the near west side would be halted or lessoned because Rosie flopped in Chicago. Please! Rosie did not make it in Chicago because she is not that talented and her message is old. She did not fool anyone here. Maybe she can in New York. Harpo Studio might be vacant for a while, but there is new talent always on deck that is more talented and interesting than Rosie. Good luck to her in New York. She is not that big a deal.

  • Miguel Rivera

    Mayor Rahm Emanuel should have left with her. To become cohost. Imagine the skits he could do. Stabbing a table, giving dead fish to a guest, poking someone on the chest in the showers(the ex wrestler named Haku should play the man, whose chest is poked. During in WCW.Haku lifted Brutus Beefcake, up against a shower room wall. Using his Tongan Death Grip.

  • Bob

    I personally think with Rosie leaving, the west side is looking better already

  • http://chicago.cbslocal.com/2012/03/23/report-restaurants-floundering-near-harpo-studios/ Report: Restaurants Floundering Near Harpo Studios « CBS Chicago

    […] Earlier this month, Mayor Rahm Emanuel insisted that improvements on the Near West Side would contin… […]

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