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Steve Harvey ending Chicago talk show in May, launching new show in LA next fall

In what sounds like a familiar script, Steve Harvey is pulling the plug on his Chicago-based syndicated daytime talk show after five years and moving to Los Angeles to launch a new show in September 2017.

The "Steve Harvey" show, taped at NBC Tower and co-produced by NBC Universal and Endemol Shine North America, will end its production run in May, an NBC spokeswoman confirmed Friday. More than 100 staffers were notified of the decision, and the end of their employment, this morning, sources said.

The new show will be co-produced by Harvey and IMG, the New York-based media company whose affiliate, WME, represents the comedian/TV host. Harvey will have an ownership stake in the as-yet-unnamed show, which will be distributed by NBC Universal and carried on all NBC-owned stations, including WMAQ-Ch.5 in Chicago.

Sources said the new show will be more celebrity-driven, one of the primary reasons Harvey is leaving Chicago for Los Angeles. News of the move was first reported by media blogger Robert Feder.

When the "Steve Harvey" show made its debut in September 2012, it was a big boost for the Chicago television industry, filling the void left by Oprah Winfrey's departure one year earlier. Winfrey ended her long-running syndicated daytime talk show in 2011 and moved to Los Angeles to start the OWN cable network. Rosie O'Donnell's short-lived talk show, launched in October 2011 out of Winfrey's Harpo Studios, lasted less than six months. Harpo Studios closed its doors for good in 2015.

Harvey tapes his show at Studio A, a 10,000-square-foot facility in NBC Tower that formerly housed shows hosted by Jerry Springer, Jenny Jones and Steve Wilkos. Springer moved his controversial show to Connecticut in 2009.

Abandoning Chicago for traditional media centers on the East and West coasts is a recurrent strategy for TV talk show hosts. Phil Donahue, who took his show from Dayton to Chicago in 1974, moved to New York in 1985, lasting another decade on the air.

Besides a richer pool of celebrities for his new daytime talk show, sources said Harvey was weary of commuting from his Chicago home to Los Angeles, where the busy star hosts "Little Big Shots," "Family Feud" and other TV shows.

"Little Big Shots," a talent show featuring young musicians, singers and dancers, debuted in March and was an instant prime-time ratings hit for NBC. The show has been renewed for a second season.

Harvey has had some high-profile stumbles. As host of the Miss Universe pageant in December, Harvey misread a card on live TV, mistakenly crowning Miss Colombia instead of the actual winner, Miss Philippines.

Two very awkward minutes later, Harvey uttered the infamous words that have become part of TV history.

"OK folks, uh, there's ... I have to apologize," Harvey announced meekly to the stunned crowd. "Runner-up is Colombia ... Miss Universe 2015 is Philippines."

Harvey poked fun at his gaffe in a Super Bowl spot for T-Mobile in February and will return to host the pageant again in January 2017.

rchannick@chicagotribune.com

Twitter @RobertChannick

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