The Prospect Studios

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The Prospect Studios logo.png
Front gate of the studio facility

The Prospect Studios (also known as ABC Television Center [West]) is a lot containing several television studios located at 4151 Prospect Avenue in the Los Feliz neighborhood of Los Angeles, at the corner of Prospect and Talmadge Avenues (named in honor of silent screen star Norma Talmadge), just east of Hollywood. For more than 50 years, this facility served as the West Coast headquarters of the American Broadcasting Company before the network moved its main headquarters to the Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, California. From 1949 to 1999, ABC-owned Los Angeles television station KABC-TV was also located there. The station moved to a new state-of-the-art facility located on a portion of Disney's Grand Central Creative Campus (GC3) in nearby Glendale, California, in December 1999.

History[edit]

Elizabeth Vargas anchors ABC World News Tonight from ABC News's Los Angeles Bureau, located at The Prospect Studios until 2011.

Opening in 1915 as The Vitagraph Studio, the original silent film plant included two daylight film stages, support buildings and many exterior film sets. In 1925, Vitagraph's founder Albert Smith sold the company to the Warner brothers. In 1927, the facility became The Warner East Hollywood Annex and was used for many large-scale films. Here, in 1927, Warner Bros. shot portions of the historical first sound film, The Jazz Singer, using the Vitaphone process which synchronized audio and picture. The "interior" club scenes for the film were shot in Stage 5, still located today in the center of the Studio Lot. In the 1930s and '40s, Warner Bros. continued to shoot on the Lot using large water tanks, ship and backlot sets.

In 1948, the property was sold to the newly formed American Broadcasting Company, and the film lot was transitioned into the new world of television as the ABC Television Center. ABC proceeded to place their new Los Angeles television station, KECA-TV (now KABC-TV) in the newly purchased lot, a year later. Construction on the studio lot to bring it to its current form took place in 1957. ABC still uses the Prospect facility as a network retransmission center for its programming. Many memorable television shows, including those produced for ABC, other networks or syndication, have been produced in the studios. The third JFK/Nixon debate was partially held in this studio on October 13, 1960, with Kennedy in a New York studio, while Nixon and the interviewing panel were based at the Prospect lot, albeit in separate studios to insure fairness between the candidates. American Bandstand started recording there in 1964 (moving from Philadelphia). ABC's longest running program, General Hospital, now in its 50th year on the air, has been taped at this location since the mid-1980s after relocating from the Sunset Gower Studios in Hollywood. Many other classic television shows were also produced there including The Lawrence Welk Show, Barney Miller, Fridays, Mr. Belvedere, Welcome Back, Kotter, Benson, and Soap. Barney Miller, Benson and Soap were also shot at Sunset Gower Studios.

Four of the most well-known game shows in television history were recorded at ABC Television Center: Family Feud (1976–85, hosted by Richard Dawson), Let's Make a Deal (1968–76, hosted by Monty Hall), The Dating Game (1965–74, hosted by Jim Lange), and The Newlywed Game (1966–74, hosted by Bob Eubanks). Other game shows taped there included The Better Sex (1977-78, hosted by Bill Anderson and Sarah Purcell), Break the Bank (1976-77, hosted by Tom Kennedy for the daytime and Jack Barry for syndication), Hollywood Squares (the mid-80s edition hosted by John Davidson), Match Game (1990-91, hosted by Ross Shafer), Password and Password All-Stars (1971–75, both hosted by Allen Ludden).

Davidson, along with Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback Fran Tarkenton and Cathy Lee Crosby co-hosted That's Incredible!, an ABC show that ran from 1980–84, and considered one of the first true shows of the reality television genre. ABC's long-running show, America's Funniest Home Videos, taped here from 1990-93.

The Los Angeles Bureau of ABC News was also located at The Prospect Studios until it was moved to the KABC-TV studios in Glendale in 2011. The facility also served as broadcast headquarters for ABC's coverage of the 1984 Los Angeles Summer Olympic Games.

In 1996, ABC became part of The Walt Disney Company, the origins of which trace back to its first studio in Silver Lake. As the television and film industry entered the next millennium, the lot was renamed The Prospect Studios. In 2002, the property underwent a major renovation to position its facilities for the future and new technical innovation.

Current shows besides General Hospital produced here include ABC's medical drama Grey's Anatomy.

Shows produced here[edit]

References[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Kaufman, Dave (1968). TV 69: Who's Who, What's What in the New TV Season (mass market paperback). New York: Signet. p. 123. 
  2. ^ Kaufman, p. 131

Coordinates: 34°06′08″N 118°16′58″W / 34.10222°N 118.28278°W / 34.10222; -118.28278