United Artists Television

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United Artists Television, formed in 1956, was an American television production/distribution company of United Artists Corporation. The company is remembered for producing series such as This Man Dawson, The Outer Limits, Gilligan's Island, My Mother the Car, The Fugitive, The New Phil Silvers Show, thirtysomething, and The Patty Duke Show.

Background[edit]

UA purchased Associated Artists Productions ('a.a.p.') in 1958, giving UA access to the pre-1950[1][2] Warner Bros. library and the Popeye cartoons made by Fleischer Studios and Famous Studios between 1933 and 1957.

In 1960, United Artists purchased Ziv Television Programs, including the 20% share still held by chair of the board, Frederick Ziv, and president, John L. Sinn, for $20 million. The newly merged production company was renamed Ziv-United Artists.

United Artists had never been very successful in television, having placed only two series in prime time, The Troubleshooters (1959—1960) and The Dennis O'Keefe Show (1959—1960). This pattern continued after the merger. Ziv-UA produced 12 pilots during the first year and failed to sell any of them. though Aubrey Schenck's Miami Undercover lasted one season in 1961.

In 1962, the company phased out Ziv Television operations and changed its name back to United Artists Television. In the same year, the American Broadcasting Company premiered a successful prime time television show called The ABC Sunday Night Movie in competition to NBC's successful Saturday Night at the Movies. The first season featured the release of many United Artists films with some episodes containing featurettes promoting upcoming UA cinema releases.

United Artists Television had several shows such as Stoney Burke (1962), The Patty Duke Show (1963), The Outer Limits (1963), Hollywood and the Stars (1963), The Fugitive (1963), The Hollywood Palace (1964), and Gilligan's Island (1964).

After The Hollywood Palace ended in 1970, the company decided to focus presenting their movie library on television and reruning their classics after years of still being unsuccessful in television.

In 1981, MGM merged with UA to create MGM/UA Entertainment Co. As a result, their respective television units combined as well, becoming MGM/UA Entertainment Co. Television (or just simply MGM/UA Television) in 1982. The "United Artists Television" name was eventually phased out around 1983 in favor of the "MGM/UA Television" banner, although UA itself continued to produce television shows until 1995.

Notable United Artists shows[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ You Must Remember This: The Warner Bros. Story (2008), p. 255.
  2. ^ WB retained a pair of features from 1949 that they merely distributed, and all short subjects released on or after September 1, 1948; in addition to all cartoons released on or after August 1, 1948.