The Burbank Studios
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|The Burbank Studios|
|Type||television studios Complex|
|Owner||Worthe Real Estate Group
|Design and construction|
|Developer||Radio Corporation of America|
The West Coast Radio City opened in 1938 and served as headquarters to the NBC Radio Networks' West Coast operations. It served as a replacement for NBC's radio broadcast center in San Francisco, which had been around since the network's formation in 1927. Since NBC never owned a radio station in Los Angeles, the network's West Coast programming originated from its San Francisco station (KPO-AM, which later became KNBC-AM, and is now KNBR).
In January 1949, NBC launched its newest television station for Los Angeles, KNBH (Channel 4; now KNBC) from Radio City; the radio studios were later equipped for live television broadcasting in the transition phase from radio broadcasting. However, as television production was increasing for NBC, the network and its then-parent RCA decided to build a television studio, nicknamed NBC Color City, that would be exclusively equipped for color broadcasting. For many of the same reasons why CBS eventually built Television City in the early 1950s, the television facilities at Radio City gradually became too small for NBC to produce its television broadcasts.
RCA's decision to expand television studio facilities required moving to the real estate market in the San Fernando Valley-Burbank area, with land purchased from Jack Warner. The Thomas Sarnoff interview at the American Academy of Television gives the history of acquiring land for the NBC Color City, contract negotiations, etc. The newly christened NBC Color City Studios opened in March 1955, as the first television studio designed specially for the origination of color television broadcasting, although their rivals, ABC and CBS would gradually add color broadcasting to their studio facilities in the later years.
KNBC moved to a new building in 1962. In 1964, the West Coast Radio City building was demolished, as NBC moved more of their West Coast television operations to the Burbank facility. The site is now occupied by a bank.
Although the first phase of this project was completed in September 1952 and a few black-and-white programs were broadcast from there for two and a half years, the facility was officially dedicated on March 27, 1955. It was known back then as NBC Color City, since the recently completed studio at the complex is said to be the first TV studio equipped exclusively for "color broadcasting". The Administration Building, erected first, was divided from the studio stages by a midway main drive access which separated the first two black and white studios on Alameda Avenue, stages 1 and 3, from the main office facility. An underground tunnel, under the entrance driveway, connected the administration building with the stage's entrance Reception Page Desk and guest foyer. Rehearsal halls, drapery, construction-mill, scenic paint frames with basement floor wells, electric, transportation, costume sewing shop, and production (art and technical) support offices comprised the original completed studio. Further expansion with the addition of color studios 2 and 4 on California Street, engineering, editing facilities, and additional offices, completed the finished studio in 1955. Studio 1 originally had a bowling alley built in the basement under the stage floor for Danny Kaye. Dressing rooms, make-up and hair, and a costume room were shared with Studio 3 on the main stage [1 and 3] corridor stage level; upstairs, on the second floor, a Director-Technical Control monitor booth-room overlooking each stage; with sound, camera-engineering and lighting-dimmer board control support rooms, client viewing room, for each studio comprised the sound stages' second floor. Additional dressing rooms, rehearsal rooms, music storage file rooms were located in the basement, and above the studio street audience foyer holding reception areas. Both stages had raked permanent audience seating for 350 spectators. Due to wear, the Studio 3 permanent audience area was removed in 1959 to expand the studio's footprint. Planning Studio 2 and 4, movable audience bleachers were utilized maintaining an expansive studio stage area with a full 360 degree sharks tooth and bleached muslin cyclorama. Studio 4 had a swimming pool pit, built specially for Esther Williams and aquatic ballet, with camera port-hole pit windows located around the perimeter of the stage. The flooring over the water tank proved unreliable for heavy camera crane dolly and normal television cameras tracking and pan movements and the tank was removed in 1959. Studio 2 and 4 were primarily reserved for color specials, later for music and variety series television productions such as Milton Berle, Jerry Lewis, Dean Martin, Eddie Fisher, Dinah Shore, Andy Williams, Wheel of Fortune, Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, Mitzi Gaynor, Danny Kaye, Fun Factory, Days of Our Lives, Lux Video Theatre, Bright Promise, Return to Peyton Place and others.
A next full phase of the project was finished in November 1962, which accommodated the move of the network's Los Angeles [Hollywood, Sunset and Vine] station, on Channel 4, from Hollywood to Burbank. Channel 4 changed its call letters from KRCA to KNBC upon the move. The original RCA-NBC TV-Radio Hollywood studio, located one block west of the CBS TV/Radio Columbia Square studios, on Sunset Boulevard at the corner of Vine Street, was at the center of the radio-television entertainment footprint. After selling the original RCA Hollywood (Sunset and Vine) studios, RCA-NBC purchased property, one block west, to maintain its RCA-NBC Broadcasting License for its FCC license to remain intact. This facility's primary purpose was as recording studios and offices. Years later, the broadcasting license was exchanged for the NBC-Burbank location. Home to NBC's west coast flagship station KNBC, it also housed the network's West Coast broadcast operations, its Los Angeles news bureau, as well as the Telemundo network's local owned & operated station, KVEA (Channel 52). ABC TV was located at the former film lot located at Prospect Boulevard (extension of Hollywood Boulevard) and Talmadge Avenue. ABC leased stages on Vine Street for broadcasting facilities in El Capitan Theatre and Don Lee Radio Studio.
This studio hosted production of many of the best-remembered game and variety shows from the 1950s through the 1990s, including The Tonight Show beginning in 1972. In that year, Johnny Carson moved the show to California from New York where it remained until 2009 when Jay Leno handed hosting duties to Conan O'Brien. During the late 1960s, the Carson Tonight Show would move for periods to Burbank, using studio 1. After the permanent move to Burbank, Bob Hope's show taped in studio 1, with The Tonight Show taking a hiatus while Hope produced his specials.
The short-lived The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien taped a few miles away at Universal Studios in Studio One, which later housed E!'s late night series Chelsea Lately and as of August 2014 is currently vacant. Upon Leno's return as host of the The Tonight Show in 2010, it resumed taping in the Burbank facility, until his final departure in 2014.
NBC's move to Universal City
In October 2007, the network announced that it planned to move most of its operations from Burbank to a new complex across the street from Universal Studios in Universal City. It would retain offices at the Burbank site until May, 2013, though the studio complex was sold to Catalina/Worthe Real Estate Group in 2008 with NBC-Universal leasing space until 2013. The former Technicolor building on the Universal lot serves as the new home to NBC's West Coast Operations. KNBC 4 and NBC News, along with KVEA Telemundo 52, began broadcasting from Universal Studios on February 2, 2014.
In preparation for the move, The Ellen DeGeneres Show moved to the nearby Warner Bros. Studios in 2008, and when Conan O'Brien assumed hosting duties, The Tonight Show moved to an all-digital studio on the Universal lot in 2009. The Jay Leno Show continued to broadcast from the NBC Burbank studios as Leno's Tonight Show had, though from Studio 11. From March 1, 2010 to February 6, 2014, the The Tonight Show taped at Studio 11.
The Burbank facility was one of the few television-specific studio facilities in Hollywood that offered tours to the general public until they ceased July 6, 2012.
On March 13, 2014, Lawrence O'Donnell announced that his MSNBC broadcast that night would be the last nationally televised show to be broadcast live from NBC's Burbank lot, as they were moving to Universal Studios.
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Today, the studio only houses Days of Our Lives. Programs produced here over the years include:
|Access Hollywood||Syndication||1996–2015||1, 5|
|Access Hollywood Live||Syndication||2010–2015||1|
|The All-New Jeopardy!||NBC||1978–1979||3|
|All Star Secrets||NBC||1979|
|The Andy Williams Show||NBC||1962–1967; 1969–1971||4|
|An Evening with Fred Astaire
|The Big Game||NBC||1958||4|
|Blockbusters||NBC||1980–1982; 1987||2, 3, 4|
|Card Sharks||NBC||1978–1981||3, 4|
|Celebrity Sweepstakes||NBC, Syndication||1974–1977||9|
|Chain Reaction||NBC||1980||2, 4|
|Channel 4 News||KNBC||1962–2014||5"N",10|
|Chico and the Man||NBC||1974–1978||1|
|Days of Our Lives||NBC||1965–present||9, 2 & 4|
|The Dean Martin Show||NBC||1965–1974||2|
|Dog Eat Dog||NBC||2002–2003||1|
|The Don Knotts Show||NBC||1970–1971||2|
|The Don Rickles Show||NBC||1968–1969||2|
|Elvis Presley's '68 Comeback Special
|The Facts of Life||NBC||1987–1988|
|The Ellen Degeneres Show"||Syndication||2000–2003||11|
|Fight Back! with David Horowitz||Syndication||1980–1992||5"P"|
|The Flip Wilson Show||NBC||1970–1974||2|
|Frank Sinatra: A Man and His Music
|The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air||NBC||1993–1996||11|
|The Funny Side||NBC||1971–1972|
|The Gong Show||NBC, Syndication||1976–1978||3|
|High Rollers||NBC||1974–1976; 1978–1980||3|
|Hollywood Squares||NBC, Syndication||1966–1980; 1986||3|
|The Howie Mandel Show||Syndication||1998-1999||1|
|In the House||NBC, UPN||1995–1999|
|It Could Be You||NBC||1956–1961|
|It Pays to Be Ignorant||Syndication||1973–1974|
|It Takes Two||NBC||1969–1970|
|It's Anybody's Guess||NBC||1977||3|
|It's Your Bet||Syndication||1969–1973|
|The Jay Leno Show||NBC||2009–2010||11|
|The John Davidson Show||Syndication||1980–1981||2|
|Last Call with Carson Daly||NBC||2005–2009||9|
|Let's Make a Deal||NBC, Syndication||1963–1968; 1984–1985; 2003||1, 4|
|Letters to Laugh-In||NBC||1969||2|
|Match Game-Hollywood Squares Hour||NBC||1983–1984||3|
|Make Your Own Kind of Music||NBC||1971|
|The Midnight Special||NBC||1972–1983||2, 4|
|The Nat King Cole Show||NBC||1956–1957||2|
|People are Funny||NBC||1956–1961; 1984||3|
|People Will Talk||NBC||1963||3|
|Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In||NBC||1968–1973||3|
|Sale of the Century||NBC, Syndication||1983–1989||3|
|The Sammy Davis, Jr. Show||NBC||1966||2|
|Sanford and Son||NBC||1972–1977||3|
|Saved by the Bell||NBC||1989–1993|
|Saved by the Bell: The New Class||NBC||1993–2000|
|Scrabble||NBC||1984–1990; 1993||2, 3|
|Sonny with a Chance||Disney Channel||2008–2009||11|
|Supermarket Sweep||Pax TV||2001–2003||11|
|To Say the Least||NBC||1977–1978|
|To Tell the Truth||NBC, Syndication||1990–1991; 2000–2002||1, 11|
|The Tonight Show
(Johnny Carson and Jay Leno)
|NBC||1972–2009; 2010–2014||1, 3, 11|
|Three for the Money||NBC||1975|
|This Is Your Life||NBC||1958–1961||3|
|Truth or Consequences||NBC||1960–1965||1, 3|
|Tomorrow||NBC||1973–1974; 1977–1979||1, 5|
|The Weakest Link||NBC, Syndication||2001–03||1|
|The Weird Al Show||CBS||1997-98||1|
|Welcome Back, Kotter||ABC||1975–76|
|What's This Song?||NBC||1964–1965|
|Wheel of Fortune||NBC, Syndication||1975–1988||2, 4|
|You Bet Your Life/The Groucho Show||NBC||1960–1961||3|
|You Don't Say!||NBC||1963–1969||3|
|Your Number's Up||NBC||1985||2|
- The Burbank Studios at Emporis
- "International Directory of Company Histories-The Austin Company". International Directory of Company Histories. Retrieved 15 July 2011.
- Schneider, Michael (10 October 2007). "NBC moving from Burbank to L.A.". Variety. Retrieved 2013-08-22.
- Miller, Daniel (4 January 2012). "NBCUniversal to Build New Broadcast Center". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2013-08-22.
- Memmott, Mark (3 April 2013). "It's Set: Jimmy Fallon To Replace Jay Leno On 'Tonight Show' In Spring 2014". Must Reads (NPR). Retrieved 2013-08-22.
- Flint, Joe (6 July 2012). "The Morning Fix: Big web for 'Spider-Man' and 'Ted.' WikiLeaks race". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2013-08-22.