Big Ticket Entertainment
Big Ticket Television, Inc. (a.k.a. Big Ticket Entertainment and Big Ticket Pictures) is a production company that is a unit of CBS Television Studios (formerly CBS Paramount Television), a division of CBS Corporation since the split of Viacom at the end of 2005.
The company was launched on October 21, 1994 under the Spelling Entertainment Group, who named Lawrence A. Lyttle to run the division. Lyttle wanted to name the company as Blockbuster Television, named after its parent company Blockbuster, Inc., but Viacom opposed the idea because of the chain's fate was unclear. Viacom by that time owned Blockbuster Inc. and its 67% stake in Spelling Entertainment Group since September 29. Lyttle chose the name Big Ticket by driving by a Blockbuster store and noted Blockbuster's "big ticket" logo. Big Ticket was created primarily as an outlet for non-drama TV series from Spelling, which was largely known for hit dramas at that time. All of its programming was distributed by Spelling's syndication arm, Worldvision Enterprises.
In 1999, Spelling Entertainment was bought out by Viacom, resulting in Paramount Domestic Television (which Viacom had owned since its 1994 acquisition of Paramount Pictures) becoming Big Ticket's distributor in 2000. On June 29, 2003, Paramount Television combined Big Ticket Television's production operations with its network and syndication outputs after Lyttle left before his final year was over. In 2006, PDT became CBS Paramount Domestic Television and later CBS Television Distribution.
Big Ticket's most widely viewed productions are the courtroom series Judge Judy and Judge Joe Brown (ended in 2013), with the former debuting in 1996 and the latter in 1998. This left Judge Judy as the company's only program in the 2013-14 television season, although most of the production is done by CBS as the company has been largely a figurehead organization since the CBS takeover of Viacom's television unit. In fall 2014 Big Ticket also began to produce the three-judge court show Hot Bench, which is executive-produced by Judith Sheindlin through her own production company, Queen Bee Productions.
Big Ticket also produced the sitcom Moesha, its spin-off The Parkers and the stopmotion animated comedy Gary & Mike for UPN, the dramas Hack and Wolf Lake for CBS (only five episodes of the latter aired on CBS before cancellation, but all nine were shown on UPN), and the talk show parody Night Stand with Dick Dietrick for syndication. For the second season of the court series Swift Justice, Big Ticket became the production company after the series moved from Atlanta to Los Angeles.
- "Los Angeles Times" October 21, 1994 Spelling Names Execs to Head New TV Comedy Unit articles.latimes.com, Retrieved on September 9, 2013
- Coe, Steve "Highbeam Research" Blockbuster's next TV move is Big Ticket. (Big Ticket Television) (Brief Article) highbeam.com, Retrieved on September 9, 2013
- Paige Albiniak and John Eggerton 6/29/2003 Paramount Grabs Its Big Ticket broadcastingcable.com, Retrieved on September 9, 2013
- "Viacom Completes Merger With Blockbuster". techagreements.com.
- Michael Schneider "Variety" Par to close Big Ticket variety.com, Retrieved on September 9, 2013