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Oprah selling off Winfrey Way studio

Mon., March 17, 2014

Oprah Winfrey is selling Harpo Studios in Chicago to a developer, but the studio will remain on the property for another two years.

Winfrey filmed “The Oprah Winfrey Show” at the studio from 1990 to 2011, when she ended the talk show to start the Oprah Winfrey Network on cable.

“We have entered into a purchasing agreement with Sterling Bay for the four-building Harpo Studios campus in Chicago’s West Loop,” Harpo told Crain’s Chicago Business in a statement. “We expect the transaction to be closed in 30 days. The property will be leased back to Harpo for two years and the studio will continue to produce programming for OWN.”

In 2011, then-Chicago Mayor Richard Daley named the street outside Harpo Studios “Oprah Winfrey Way.”

Rapper put off by SXSW corporatism

Rapper ScHoolboy Q had a great time at his first South By Southwest a few years ago, but found himself getting angry this year as he played a series of shows at the annual music conference and festival in Austin, Texas.

Everywhere he turned, his fans were standing outside venues festooned with corporate branding, unable to enter because they didn’t have a formal invite.

“It’s stupid. They changed it all up. It’s corporate,” he said as he prepared for a show Saturday. “I don’t ever want to come back unless they change it to where the fans are in. I’m tired of performing and seeing my fans outside the gate. … That’s not fair. It’s not about the fans no more; it’s all about money.”

As South By Southwest shuttered its 28th year Sunday, participants debated the growing corporate influence. Critics say SXSW has evolved past its core mission: to help new bands get discovered. Instead, they say, the media focus has shifted to already-established stars such as Jay-Z, Kanye West, Lady Gaga, Coldplay, CeeLo Green, Rick Ross, Keith Urban and many more whose heavily promoted appearances are underwritten by international brands.

Pine admits DUI in New Zealand

Hollywood actor Chris Pine, known for playing Captain Kirk in the “Star Trek” movies, has pleaded guilty in a New Zealand court to drunken-driving charges.

The 33-year-old was fined $79 and had his New Zealand driver’s license suspended for six months during a hearing today at the Ashburton District Court.

Police pulled over Pine early on March 1 after he’d attended a party to mark the end of filming on the movie “Z for Zachariah,” which is due for release next year.

Police said Pine’s blood-alcohol level was 0.11 percent, over the legal limit of 0.08 percent.

The birthday bunch

Singer-songwriter John Sebastian (The Lovin’ Spoonful) is 70. Actor Patrick Duffy is 65. Actor Kurt Russell is 63. Actress Lesley-Anne Down is 60. Actor Gary Sinise is 59. Actor Rob Lowe is 50. Rock singer Billy Corgan (Smashing Pumpkins) is 47. Actress Natalie Zea is 39.


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