Worldvision Enterprises

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This article is about the media company. For the charitable organization that is not affiliated with the media company, see World Vision.
Worldvision Enterprises, Inc.
Industry Television syndication
Home video distributor
Fate Merger with Viacom/Paramount Pictures, incorporation into Republic Pictures
Successor Paramount Domestic Television (1999-2006)
CBS Paramount Domestic Television (2006-2007)
CBS Television Distribution (2007-present)
Founded 1953 (as ABC Film Syndication)
Defunct 1999
Headquarters United States
Area served

Worldvision Enterprises, Inc. was a television program distributor established in July 1953 as ABC Film Syndication, the domestic and overseas program distribution arm of the ABC Television Network. They primarily licensed programs from independent producers, rather than producing their own content.


On March 27, 1954, ABC-PT created the ABC Films Syndication, a subsidiary headed by George Shupert, which specialized in syndication and in-house program production.[1] In 1959, ABC International created Worldvision Enterprises to syndicate programs to overseas markets.[2] Henry G. Plitt became president of the company in February 1959 to replace Shupert after he left for MGM.[3]

In 1971, the FCC barred the participation of networks in the syndication of their own programs. Worldvision Enterprises was formed by five former ABC Films executives to purchase the network's syndication assets.[4] The purchase was completed on March 30, 1973.

Their home video division released numerous Hanna-Barbera titles and Jack Nicklaus' Golf My Way instructional video series.[5] They were also responsible for the television distribution of a majority of the Carolco Pictures feature film library (inherited from Orbis Communications, which was a division of Carolco before the studio went bankrupt).

Worldvision has been owned by many companies over the years. The growth of its home video division was primarily under the ownership of Taft Broadcasting, which acquired the company in 1979, and later became Great American Broadcasting, under Carl Lindner, Jr.

Television producer Aaron Spelling, attempting to find an outlet to distribute his programs, attempted to buy Worldvision from Great American. Lindner told Spelling that he was not interested in selling the company, but decided to merge with Spelling, giving both of them Worldvision.[6] The merger was finalized on March 1, 1989.[7]

In August 1994, Worldvision's Spelling Premiere Network was launched. The network's initial years shows were Robin's Hoods, Heaven Help Us,[8] and University Hospital, Heaven's mid-season replacement.[9]

In later years, Aaron Spelling consolidated his companies, and Worldvision as a wholly functioning unit ceased to exist and became folded into Republic Pictures (which Spelling bought in 1994), although Worldvision as a distribution unit continued for many years after until Spelling/Republic merged with Viacom (which also started as a syndication arm of a television network, in this case CBS) in 1999, the same year Viacom announced its acquisition of former parent CBS (completed in 2000). These mergers allowed Viacom to become the second-largest media conglomerate in the world. Viacom later renamed itself to CBS Corporation and spun off its basic cable and motion picture interests into a "new" Viacom.

Legal issues of the name[edit]

The company's logo, as it appeared at the end of the programs it distributed, carried the following disclaimer: "Not affiliated with World Vision International, a religious and charitable organization." This was because, in the mid-1970s, the charity sued the syndicator for its use of the "Worldvision" name. They eventually settled, with Worldvision allowed to continue using the name for the syndication company, provided that a disclaimer was included to distance themselves from World Vision International, which has been implemented since 1974.


  1. ^ The Billboard, April 3, 1954, p. 10.
  2. ^ Wittebols 2004, p. 22.
  3. ^ "Week's Headliners" (PDF). Broadcasting. February 16, 1959. p. 10. Retrieved April 9, 2015. 
  4. ^ [1]
  5. ^ Barbera, Joseph (1994). My Life in "Toons": From Flatbush to Bedrock in Under a Century. Atlanta, GA: Turner Publishing. pp. 191–192. ISBN 1-57036-042-1. 
  6. ^ Interview with Aaron Spelling. Archive of American Television (November 18/24, 1999).
  7. ^ "Spelling Entertainment Inc. formed in reorganization of Aaron Spelling Productions Inc.; merger with Worldvision and Laurel also completed.". 
  8. ^ Kleid, Beth (August 28, 1994). "Focus : Spelling Check : Mega-Producer's Latest Venture is His Own 'Network'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved April 24, 2015. 
  9. ^ Kleid, Beth (November 21, 1994). "Morning Briefing: Television: Coming Attractions". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved April 24, 2015. 

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