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article imageChicago Mayor Says Media 'Kicked' Oprah Out of Town

By Bob Gordon     Nov 21, 2009 in Entertainment
Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley weighed in on the story that every Chicagoan has an opinion about, Oprah's departure happening eighteen months from now. Yesterday, Mayor Daley placed the burden of shame on the fifth estate.
His understanding of the situation goes like this: "You keep kicking people, and people will leave," was succinct and simple.
The mayor refers to the brouhaha that developed around Oprah's 25th season premiere last August. A two-day closing of Michigan Avenue was approved by the city to facilitate production of the season premier extravaganza. In the media this was widely interpreted as being deferential to Winfrey and disrespectful to the citizens whose commute became a nightmare for two days.
In the mayor's world it was a recognition of success that Winfrey had earned. It is nay saying, petty and small-minded to gripe about such recognition, in the mayor's eyes.
Perhaps, but there can be no doubt that Winfrey is not being chased out of town by a hostile media.
Oprah and Harpo Productions are not retrenching, focusing on core capabilities, or downsizing. Quite the opposite, they are quantitatively and qualitatively expanding. Oprah is going from a wildly popular talk show to a network, the Oprah Winfrey Network, or OWN.
The Telegraph contacted a variety of pundits, performers and producers and their opinions of Winfrey were universally positive.
Robert Thompson, professor of television and popular culture at Syracuse University told the Telegraph that Winfrey "is in a category all her own.... This is a great American story and like any great American story it's supersized."
Tom O'Neil, senior editor of In Touch Weekly, said: "People are moving to cable and the internet so she's making a smart strategic move."
Speculation immediately turned to who will have the task of filling Miss Winfrey's shoes. One of the early favorites is her friend and fellow talk show host Ellen DeGeneres, who recently described Winfrey as "the Queen of daytime television."
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