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Rosie O’Donnell buys home in Lake View; Oprah hands over studio

 Oprah Winfrey Rosie O'Donnell unveil new sign outside Harpo Studios for new Rosie O'Donnell Show. Tuesday September 15 2011

Oprah Winfrey and Rosie O'Donnell unveil a new sign outside of Harpo Studios for the new Rosie O'Donnell Show. Tuesday, September 15, 2011 | Brian Jackson~Chicago Sun-Times

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Updated: November 10, 2011 11:08AM



It was a lovefest between buds as Oprah Winfrey and Rosie O’Donnell, who inherited Oprah’s studio for production of her own new talk show, unveiled a new sign heralding the Near West Side landmark’s new occupant.

“The Rosie Show, former home of the Oprah Winfrey Show,” shouted Oprah — in her best trademark excitement-triggering yell — as the gab queens Thursday whisked black cloth off the blaring metallic beacon at Randolph and Carpenter streets.

Winfrey, who ended her own show’s run this summer after 25 years, is producing the new show by the Emmy Award-winning comedian and actress, set to launch Oct. 10 on the Oprah Winfrey Network.

In fact, O’Donnell announced that she had bought a home in the Lake View area and had recently moved her family to the city.

“This is a lovely sweet moment for me, having let go of the show and having built this studio from the time it was a skating rink, and watched this community grow and become a thriving community,” said a trench-coated and booted Winfrey, looking rested and at peace.

“And I’m really thrilled to keep the studio and to have one of the people whom I’ve admired over the years, who used to be a great competitor of mine,” she said as O’Donnell screamed, “Never!”

“To now be a partner and friend, and to inherit the studio that brought me such grace and such wonder,” Winfrey finished.

The two bantered back and forth, O’Donnell’s jokes constantly eliciting laughter and Winfrey’s praise, drawing applause from the large crowd that quickly gathered as word spread of a Winfrey sighting.

“You get top billing, girl,” Winfrey said about the sign.

“Not as the universe decreed, but OK for the sign,” quipped O’Donnell in her best Brooklyn drawl.

“Well, this is trippy” said O’Donnell, dressed in all black — leggings, shirt and gym shoes. “Everything’s perfect here. . . . it’s a thrill and an honor, and I don’t want to get all mushy and maudlin with it, because I’ve gotta be funny in about 30 minutes. But this is really overwhelming. Not a lot of people get second shots, and a second shot that is bigger than the first shot. So thank you, Miss Winfrey. You move with grace and dignity, missy.”

The two shared that O’Donnell has built a new set, knocked out many of the studio walls for greater airiness; is simply more laid back than Winfrey, the studio now filled with music playing and her children and dogs given the run of the place; and has thus far taped her fourth show, a one-hour talk, variety, comedy and entertainment show that will always feature some type of competitive game at the end. It will air at 7 p.m., right before a new Oprah-hosted venture.

“Nobody gets hurt. It’s an hour of fun the whole family can watch,” O’Donnell said.

“Her show will be a big piece of light in people’s lives,” added Winfrey.

And her first guest? “Unknown at this point. But I hear a rumor it may be my new boyfriend, Russell Brand. I warned Tom Cruise he’s out and Russell’s in,” O’Donnell joked. She added: “But I do love Chicago. I bought a house here near Wrigley Field. They told me I shouldn’t say that.”



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