Harpo to produce two primetime shows

THE QUEEN OF DAYTIME is headed for primetime. Oprah’s Harpo Productions sold two reality shows to ABC, the first time she’s attached her name to a weekly primetime series.

These are the first series to emerge from Harpo’s recently formed TV development group, headed by EVPs Ellen Rakieten and Harriet Seitler.

The shows will be shot in L.A. Oprah is said to appear in at least one of the two shows, although it’s not known if she’ll be the host on either one.

Meanwhile, her doc crew has returned to Africa for another five weeks of shooting the building of Oprah’s school.

CHANGING TIMES. Leo Burnett VP/music producer Bonnie Dolan joins Comma music as executive producer and artist liaison, a newly-created position, after the first of the year. Dolan had been with Burnett for 6.5 years ? Producer Nathan Brown left DDB to join Crispin, Porter + Bogusky, Miami as an integrated producer.

AFTER A LONG DRY SPELL the feature business appears to be improving as a trio of potential features are headed our way. For the first quarter, a good part of Warner Bros. “Batman” franchise is set and a Universal feature and a remake of a French film could be inked in as well.

THE STATE’S PRESENCE at the January Sundance festival will be illuminated by the appearances of “At the Movies” reviewer Richard Roeper and actor John Cusack who stars in “Grace is Gone,” a locally-shot feature screening at the festival.

According to IFO director Brenda Sexton, Roeper will be the special guest at a party to be held at Sexton’s Park City condo, and will stay at the festival for five days to help promote feature filming in Illinois.

Party fare will include Chicago food faves — Lou Malnatti’s pizza, Eli’s Cheesecake and Garrett’s popcorn ? and, get this — the Peninsula Hotel Chicago will send a sous chef to make hors d’oeuvres.

Party co-host is Axium, the big L.A.-based payroll services company soon to open a branch in Chicago.

And a bow to the sponsors who are enabling the IFO to promote Illinois production at various events: JPMorgan Chase, Driehaus Capital Management, the Peninsula Hotel Chicago, Hollywood Boulevard Theatre and American Airlines which has provided two first class Chicago-L.A. tickets to give away.

AGENCY INFO. New ad accounts landed at Burnett and DDB: P&G’s Clairol Herbal Essences and Bel Brands cheeses, respectively. Tiny but positive steps towards recouping some of that $1.85 billion in lost account revenue in 2006.

BARRY O’CONNELL left Ch. 11 after three years to join Verve Life as director of media licensing. Verve Life is a start-up tech company specializing in delivering innovative music applications. No successor has been named as yet.

SECOND CITY CELEBRATED its 47th anniversary last week. An offshoot of the original Compass Players, The Second City was founded by Paul Sills, Howard Alk and Bernard Sahlins.

The theatre opened in an former Chinese laundry in Old Town on Dec. 16, 1959 and has been making audiences laugh 52 weeks a year ever since.

IT ALL ADDS UP: According to a recent New York study, the impact of film, TV and commercials on New York totaled $13.3 billion dollars. For every 100 direct industry jobs, an additional 210 peripheral jobs are created.

COMMENTS APPRECIATED! EA’s head Peter Nguyen reports that the number of job applicants “increased dramatically” after we ran the story about globlal game design company EA opening here.

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