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The end of Oprah’s show isn’t the only sad news in Chicago. Last month, Harpo Studios Inc., Oprah’s production company, informed the state of Illinois that it would begin laying off workers.

According to the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act report released yesterday by the Illinois Department of Employment Security, Harpo Studios would be letting go off an unspecified number of workers beginning May 25.

Although a spokesperson for the studio refused to comment about a specific number of jobs that may be lost, she did indicate that it could include at least a third of the 400-person staff.

“Employees are being notified on a departmental basis whether their jobs will be eliminated,” a Harpo spokeswoman wrote in an e-mail. “Most of those leaving us are doing so voluntarily to pursue other interests.”

Although most of the employees at Oprah’s Chicago studios were first told they’d remain with the company, things don’t seem to be panning out that way.

Chicago Business reports:

In December, Harpo Co-president Erik Logan told Crain’s that he expected employees to remain at work after Ms. Winfrey’s show ended at the end of May. He said they would move to shows on the Oprah Winfrey Network.

Harpo told employees in March that former talk-show host Rosie O’Donnell would start taping a new, one-hour daytime show in Harpo studio space. The show will run on OWN.

The state act, known as WARN, requires companies with at least 75 employees to give the state 60 days’ notice of closings or of making mass layoffs.

Losing a job in this economy is a tough blow, but I’m sure that Oprah can get her former employees hooked up with a few of her powerful friends.

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