When one door closes, one more always opens.

When Oprah rocked the world with the announcement of the final season of The Oprah Winfrey Show come 2011, a huge grey cloud loomed over many a Chicagoan’s mind. What will the media giant’s departure mean for the city and its people? Will her employees and local suppliers be left stranded and lose their source of income?

Well, the good news is, Harpo Productions is here to stay. In an article on Ruth L. Ratny’s ReelChicago.com, it states that:

“Harpo Productions plans to develop and produce new and continuing shows for syndication, prime time, cable, digital, radio and emerging platforms from Chicago.

The transition to a large assortment of content produced out of the Washington St. studio will be a huge boon for the local industry.

To everyone’s relief, it won’t suffer the loss of millions of dollars worth of annual Harpo business that might have left with Oprah’s departure.”

(read full article here)

I guess that means good news for production peeps like me too. With the focus moving from a single show to an entire network, The Oprah Winfrey Network is bound to lead to the rise in demand for content to fill their slots… 24 hours a day, 7 days a week… you can do the math.

Add that to the stringent content selection process I’m sure she’ll put in place to maintain the positive image of her brand, the content demanded will likely be right in line with the type of production I’m passionate about – social issue media. Nice. Content on air really doesn’t always have to be about sex, drugs and violence. Whether or not I’ll still be in the city to witness these changes, I’m glad that there’ll at least be more positivity on television.

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Oprah… 2011’s too soon…

So it’s official. After months of speculation that Oprah was going to move her show out of Chicago to join the rest of big time TV in LA, the word is out that it’s not a move she’s planning. The Oprah Winfrey Show will record its last episode in Sep 2011.

While this will mean a huge loss to Chicago, it’s the bigger loss I shall mourn: The loss of what I believe is the most influential and life-changing show on television. 25 seasons of touching peoples’ hearts. Wow. She’s the earliest influence I’ve had that’s fueled my belief the powerful world of media can indeed be used for positive social change.

I have shed many a tear watching her show. And I’ve laughed out loud in front of the telly, from halfway around the world in Singapore. I often joked with friends that my reason for choosing to study in Chicago was because i harbored a secret desire to be a part of her live studio audience! By a stroke of luck, that dream was fulfilled. Being in that studio was tremendously exciting. It fascinated me how huge the place was and how much crazy action was going on outside of what we often see within the frame on TV. Oh life is funny that way. The more we learn, the more we realize we don’t know.

But when one door closes, one more always opens. I’m thankful that she’s not leaving the media completely. Just look forward to what she does with the Oprah Winfrey Network. Afterall, change can be created in more ways than one. And based on her track record, the most influential woman in media is bound to move mountains there.