KELLY: Dear Oprah, please don’t leave

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With the recent news that Oprah Winfrey might move from Chicago to Los Angeles, I took the liberty to make my case for why she should stay in the Midwest.

Repeated attempts to chase her down on Michigan Avenue proved fruitless. So here’s my backup plan: an open letter.


Dear Ms. Winfrey,


I have something to ask you. Rumor has it that you wanted to give up your syndicated daytime talk show empire to focus on your new venture — the Oprah Winfrey Network.

With all due respect, Oprah, say it ain’t so!

Some say it’s a strategic move. You’re moving to Tinseltown to have a better platform to launch your upcoming cable channel, OWN (which will replace the Discovery Health Channel, because there’s no need to discover anything about health since you already know everything).

But why? You’re already a global icon. You’ve been broadcasting from Chicago for more than 20 years. You’re more Midwest than cornfields and terrible weather.

Why fix what isn’t broken? You can just as easily own our living rooms (and bathrooms and kitchens and thoughts) from Chicago.

Ms. Winfrey, if you move, you’ll devastate not only the city of Chicago, but you’ll leave tens of millions of loyal followers worldwide without a god, aimlessly grasping at life’s questions without your all-knowing guidance.

Oprah, you leaving Chicago would be like Vatican City leaving Rome. And with your net worth at about $2.3 billion, you and your minions are basically an independent country.

The public can’t handle a (sometimes literally) larger-than-life person such as yourself fading into the background of production instead of all over our TV screens.

This is a slippery slope, Oprah. If you give up your show, what could be next? The book club? O, the Oprah Magazine? Feminism? America’s morals?

Without your book club, millions of viewers wouldn’t know what to read or how to feel.

Without their leader promoting required reading, there could be a dissent of opinion among your troops, devolving into anarchy.

If you give up your show, America’s desperate housewives won’t know what to do at 4 o’clock. Where will we get our daily dose of female self-empowerment? There’s only so much Ellen DeGeneres to go around.

If you leave your show, we won’t know to whom to direct our righteous indignation. You showed us that if we get embarrassed for not researching a guest (cough, James Frey, cough), well, we just call that lying bastard up on our show again and publicly lambast him.

Also, I don’t think I could handle you not being on the cover of every magazine you put out. I need you — in all your glossy glory — in my mailbox 12 times a year.

Think about the implications. Five years ago you gave 276 brand new Pontiacs to your audience members.

If you move, you’ll deprive Chicagoans of the ability to buy tickets for an event, secretly hoping for some amazing prize they know is impossible, leaving them perpetually disappointed and restless. (Whoops. Forgot they still had the Cubs.)

If you relocate to California, you won’t be able to fulfill the senatorial residency requirement. Back when Illinois had an open U.S. Senate seat, the esteemed Rob Blagojevich mentioned your name several times as a candidate to fill the vacancy. With such a ringing endorsement, how can you say no?

Even the president couldn’t make his case to bring the 2016 Olympics to Chicago without you. (Speaking of which, he clearly just got in your way. Tell him to know his place next time).

See, Oprah? Chicago needs you. Hell, I need you.

So please, consider my humble request when you make that final decision. The fate of Opramerica rests in your hands.


Jack Kelly

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