Count me among the Oprah fans heartbroken over the news that she will end her syndicated TV show next year and use the time to develop her own network. But when it comes to the Queen of Daytime TV, heck, we loyal servants are here to help.
Helpful hint #1: If you’re going to have a network named after yourself, you have to do it in the Land of Networks–Los Angeles. And as head of the Oprah Winfrey Network (Am I the only amused by the acronym OWN?), Oprah will have to leave those Chicago winters behind and come join us in the sunshine as well.
Of course she already owns an estate in Montecito. But as any honest GPS will tell her, you can’t get here from there–at least not on our gridlocked California highways. And helicoptering isn’t an answer either; our skies are just as crowded as our highways most mornings, filled largely with airborne traffic reporters.
The answer of course is that the Lovely Ms. O will need to find some suitable digs right here in the City of Angels. And for that, she’s come to the right place: We know celebrity homes.
My personal recommendation is that the chat show titan look at Candy Spelling’s Holmby Hills mansion. In fact, that’s precisely what the rumor du jour claims she has already done, although listing agent Jeff Hyland says he only wishes it was so. The Spelling manse–America’s most expensive residential listing at $150 million–would work perfectly as a 73,500-square-foot home-office for Oprah.
She could use the French chateau-style home much the same as her good pals (or now former good pals if you believe the tabloids), the Obamas, use the White House: Public rooms, private family suite, plenty of room for meetings with important guests and overnight accommodations for those who come from abroad–which in Los Angeles is anyone who doesn’t live in Malibu or the Platinum Triangle.
If Candyland is too much house for Oprah, there is also the Saperstein estate, priced at a more modest $125 million and on the market for even longer than Spelling’s place. The 45,000-square-foot estate in Beverly Hills, known as Fleur de Lys, took five years to build and is owned by Suzanne Saperstein, the ex-wife of Metro Networks founder David Saperstein.
It’s got the usual gold-embossed leather wall coverings and gold-leaf crown moldings, a ballroom with ceiling frescoes and a library filled with first editions, which presumably prove to prospective buyers that you can be both rich and smart, which Oprah clearly is. And the property has a ¾ mile jogging track, which the perpetually weight-watching Oprah might like.
My third offering is in a price class or six below that which makes headlines in the realty-osphere but is one of my favorite listings in Bel-Air. Owned by Ritz Carlton developer Mohamed Hadid, this Jerusalem-stoned property came on the market at $89 million but recently was dropped to a breath-stealing $72 million. And it’s move-in ready. Plenty of parking and customized Old World touches that scream “expensive” at you. Plus it’s been called one of the most romantic properties in the world, and as we know, even a network executive’s life can’t be all work, work, work.
Haute Living Online Real Estate Editor Ann Brenoff writes for AOL on WalletPop.com and Luxist.com. She also writes the Chief Dwellings column for the Los Angeles Business Journal and manages her own public relations and marketing firm out of Los Angeles. She formerly wrote the Hot Property column for the Los Angeles Times.