Universal Television

Last updated
Universal Television LLC
Formerly
Revue Studios (1943-1963)
Universal-International Television (1957–1963)
MCA/Universal (1951-1996)
NBC Productions (1947-1996)
NBC Studios (1996-2004)
Studios USA Television LLC (1998-2002)
Universal Network Television (a.k.a. Universal Domestic Television) (1999-2004)
USA Cable Entertainment (2000-2004)
NBC Universal Television Studio (2004-2007)
Universal Media Studios (2007-2011)
Subsidiary
Industry Television production
Television syndication
Predecessors
  • Studios USA
  • Universal Television (original)
  • NBC Studios
Founded1943;77 years ago (1943)
Headquarters,
U.S.
Key people
Pearlena Igbokwe
(President)
Parent Universal Studio Group
(NBCUniversal)
Website Official website

Universal Television LLC is an American television production company that is a subsidiary of NBCUniversal Television and Streaming, a division of Comcast's NBCUniversal. A substantial portion of the company's shows air on NBC, making the company its de facto television production division. It was formerly known as Revue Studios, Universal-International Television, MCA/Universal, NBC Productions, NBC Studios, Studios USA Television LLC, Universal Network Television, Universal Domestic Television, USA Cable Entertainment, NBC Universal Television Studio, and Universal Media Studios. re-established in 2004, Both NBC Studios and the original Universal Network Television are predecessors of Universal Media Studios, formerly known as NBC Universal Television Studio.

Contents

Background

Revue Studios

Revue Productions (later known as Revue Studios) was founded in 1943 by MCA to produce live radio shows and also produced "Stage Door Canteen" live events for the United Service Organizations (USO) during World War II. Revue was re-launched as MCA's television production subsidiary in 1950. The partnership of NBC and Revue extends as far back as September 6, 1950, with the television broadcast of Armour Theatre, based on radio's Stars Over Hollywood. MCA bought the Universal Studios lot in 1958 and was renamed Revue Studios. Following its merger with Decca Records, the then-parent of Universal Pictures, the studio backlot name was changed back to Universal. In 1963, MCA formed Universal City Studios to merge the Motion Picture and Television arms of both Universal Pictures and Revue Studios and Revue was officially renamed Universal Television in 1963.

During the early years of television, Revue was responsible for producing and/or distributing many television programs. The most noteworthy included Leave It to Beaver , which ran for only one season on CBS before going to ABC from 1958 until 1963. In addition, Revue also made Alan Hale Jr.'s Biff Baker, U.S.A. (1952–1953) and all three of Rod Cameron's syndicated series, City Detective (1953–1955), State Trooper (1956–1959), and Coronado 9 (1960–1961) and the Bill Williams western series, The Adventures of Kit Carson (1951–1955). It produced Bachelor Father (1957–1962), for "Bachelor Productions", Edmond O'Brien's syndicated crime film Johnny Midnight , based on a fictitious New York City actor-turned-private investigator. Another of its offerings was the 52-episode Crusader , the first Brian Keith series, which ran on CBS 1955–1956. Another western produced by Revue and starring Audie Murphy was Whispering Smith (NBC, 1959/61), based on the 1948 Alan Ladd movie of the same name. Leave It to Beaver was produced first by George Gobel's Golmaco Productions, then by Kayro Productions on a back lot at Revue Studios from 1958 to 1963. Also McHale's Navy was produced by Revue from 1962 to 1966.

In December 1958 MCA/Revue purchased Universal Studios's 367 acre backlot to produce television series, then leased it back to Universal for a million dollars a year for a decade. [1]

Revue also produced later seasons of The Jack Benny Program for CBS and NBC and in co-operation with Jack Benny's J and M productions Checkmate , General Electric Theater and Alfred Hitchcock Presents for CBS, Studio 57 for DuMont Television Network, and westerns such as Tales of Wells Fargo , The Restless Gun and Laramie for NBC, as well as Wagon Train for NBC and ABC, and the first two seasons of NBC's The Virginian , based on a film released originally by Paramount Pictures, whose pre-1950 theatrical sound feature film library was sold to MCA in 1957. Wagon Train was the only Revue-produced TV show ever to finish an American television season in first place.

NBC Productions/NBC Studios

NBC Productions was founded in 1947 by RCA (NBC's former parent company).

In 1996, the company was renamed NBC Studios. In 2004, NBC Studios was merged with Universal Network Television to form NBC Universal Television Studios. [2]

In 1995, NBC launched a partnership with television director James Burrows to create 3 Sisters Entertainment, who produced series for the network. [3] Out of these five, the most successful out of the venture were Will & Grace and Caroline in the City (co-produced and owned by CBS Productions).

MCA Television

MCA TV (also known as MCA Television Limited) was founded in 1948, several years before parent MCA Inc.'s purchase of Decca Records (in 1959) and Universal Pictures (in 1962). For more than four decades, it was one of the most active syndicators of television programming. During the 1980s, it distributed both off-network reruns of shows like Kate & Allie and Gimme a Break! , as well as original syndication product like the animated action series Bionic Six (co-produced with TMS Entertainment), The Morton Downey Jr. Show (taped at then-MCA owned WWOR-TV in Secaucus, New Jersey), The Munsters Today (a revival of the Universal sitcom), and Pictionary , based on the popular board game.

MCA Television attempted several branded TV packages in 1985 to 2001 including an ad-hoc film network, a broadcast network and a few syndicated programming blocks. The company launched the Universal Pictures Debut Network, an ad-hoc film network with plans to launch in two stages beginning in September 1985. [4] MCA TV and Paramount Domestic Television had formed Premier Advertiser Sales, a joint venture created for the sale of advertising for their existing syndicated programs in September 1989. As a possible outgrowth of this sales joint venture, MCA and Paramount began plans for a new network, Premier Program Service. [5] When Premier Program Service halted, MCA teamed up with Chris-Craft TV for a syndicated programming block, Hollywood Premiere Network, that only lasted for the 1990-1991 season. [6] The Universal Family Network syndicated programming block was launched by the company in the fall of 1993 with a single weekly half hour show, Exosquad , as a counter to The Disney Afternoon. [7]

In 1996, MCA TV was renamed Universal Television Enterprises; at this time they also assumed production and distribution of several daytime talk shows previously produced by Multimedia Entertainment (which Universal had acquired), including The Jerry Springer Show .

MTE (known as MCA Television Entertainment) was formed in 1987. It primarily dealt with made-for-TV movies and series like Dream On that were made for cable networks like HBO. Like MCA TV, in 1996, it was renamed as Universal Television Entertainment.

EMKA, Ltd. is the holding company responsible for a majority of the pre-1950 Paramount Pictures sound library. As an official part of the Universal Pictures library, they are part of the company's television unit, Universal Television.

Universal Television

The first incarnation of Universal Television was reincorporated from Revue Productions in 1966, 4 years after MCA Inc. bought Universal Pictures and its then-current parent Decca Records. Among their many contributions to television programming included production of the first television film ( See How They Run from 1964), the first series with revolving stars ( The Name of the Game from 1968), the first rotating series with an umbrella title (1969's The Bold Ones ) and the first two-part television movie (Vanished from 1971). Uni TV (also commonly known as MCA/Universal) also co-produced many shows with Jack Webb's Mark VII Limited such as Emergency! , Adam-12 and a revival of the 1951 series Dragnet . During the 1970s and 1980s, Uni TV produced shows such as Baretta , The Rockford Files , Murder, She Wrote , Miami Vice , The Incredible Hulk , Battlestar Galactica , Buck Rogers in the 25th Century (TV series) , Knight Rider , The A-Team , Simon & Simon and Magnum, P.I. , which received critical acclaim and several TV movie spin-offs after their cancellations.

In 1990, MCA/Uni TV began the Law & Order franchise. In 1996, MCA was reincorporated as Universal Studios. Around the same time, Universal was acquired by Joseph A. Seagram and Sons and later acquired the Multimedia Entertainment and USA Network. [8] [9]

Universal purchased a 50% stake of Brillstein-Grey Entertainment in 1996 for $75 to $100 million. They considered buying the other 50% after selling its own TV unit to Barry Diller in 1998. [10] Universal sold its stake in BGE in 1999 and BGE was renamed as Brad Grey Television, Universal continued to co-produce Just Shoot Me! and The Steve Harvey Show until their cancellations. [11]

Studios USA

USA Networks Inc. was formed by Barry Diller when he bought Universal's major television assets in October 1997. [12] Among its assets were the USA Network and Sci-Fi cable channels along with series such as Law & Order . Additionally, the company would own the HSN, the Ticketmaster Group and several TV stations. [12] Universal TV's production and distribution unit was renamed Studios USA. Universal held on to its 50% share of Brillstein-Grey Entertainment, PolyGram's international channels and the rights to its TV library while signing a long-term domestic sales deal with Studios USA for the library. Universal got a 45% share in USA Networks Inc. Greg Meidel initially resigned and was rehired as chairman and CEO of Studios USA, only to leave in June 1998. [13]

In 1999, USA Networks formed its own film and home media divisions when they acquired October Films and several production and distribution assets of PolyGram Filmed Entertainment for $200 million. [14]

In 2001, Vivendi acquired USA's entertainment assets for an estimated $10.3 billion. Under the deal, Barry Diller became chairman of Vivendi Universal Entertainment. [15] USA Networks is currently known as IAC.

PolyGram Television/Universal Worldwide Television

In 1997, PolyGram created a television division to distribute first-run syndicated and network series, hiring Bob Sanitsky from ICM Partners to be president of the division. The new unit absorbed the domestic syndication unit of ITC Entertainment (acquired by PolyGram in 1995), including it's domestic sales president Matt Cooperstein. [16]

The division's first project was the syndication of new episodes of Alliance Atlantis' Due South, distributing 22 new episodes for primetime or weekend afternoon slots. It was distributed in conjunction with Worldvision Enterprises for ad sales. [17] The unit also syndicated action hour series such as The Crow: Stairway to Heaven (based on the Miramax film with Brandon Lee. The Walt Disney Company, it's then owner at the time had passed on the series) and Total Recall: 2070, as well as the music variety program Motown Live. [18]

In early 1999, Shortly after Seagram and Universal completed their deal to acquire PolyGram. PolyGram TV was absorbed into Universal's TV and Networks division (which consisted of Universal's international TV operations). Universal would sell the ITC film and TV library to Carlton Communications, and the pre-1996 film library to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Following this, PolyGram TV was renamed Universal Worldwide Television, and in the fall of that year. UWT launched a successful realty strip, Blind Date (which gained a sister program from the same producers, The 5th Wheel). [19]

By 2001, rumours began circulating about the closure of the division (and it's two series would have been sold off to another syndicator). However by October, UWT's head of sales said the closure would not happen. [20]

In June 2002, After Vivendi Universal re-acquired the entertainment arm of USA Networks. Universal Worldwide Television was merged with Studios USA Domestic Television to form Universal Television Enterprises. [21]

USA Cable Entertainment

In 2002, Studio USA was renamed to USA Cable Entertainment but it was only used on USA Network shows.

History

NBC Universal Television Studios was formed in 2004 from NBC Studios and Universal Network Television after NBC and Universal merged. [2] On November 5, 2007, NBC Universal Television Studio was renamed Universal Media Studios (UMS) as the unit would be also developing entertainment for the web. [22]

On July 21, 2009, Universal Content Productions formerly known renamed Universal Cable Productions was split off from UMS and placed into NBCUniversal's NBCUniversal Television and Streaming division. [23] On September 14, 2011, Universal Media Studios was renamed to Universal Television. [24] In October 2019, Universal Television was transferred from NBC Entertainment to NBCUniversal Televisionn and Streaming. [25]

Shows produced

Related Research Articles

USA Network American pay television channel

USA Network is an American basic cable channel owned by the NBCUniversal Television and Streaming division of NBCUniversal, a subsidiary of Comcast. It was originally launched in 1977 as Madison Square Garden Sports Network, one of the first national sports cable television channels, before being relaunched as USA Network in 1980. Once a minor player in basic-tier pay television, USA has steadily gained popularity due to its original programming; it is one of four major subscription-television networks that also broadcasts syndicated reruns of current and former network television series and theatrically-released feature films, as well as limited sports programming and WWE.

Universal Pictures American film studio

Universal Pictures is an American film studio owned by Comcast through the NBCUniversal Film and Entertainment division of its wholly owned subsidiary NBCUniversal.

MCA Inc. was an American media conglomerate founded in 1924. Originally a talent agency with artists in the music business as clients, the company became a major force in the film industry, and later expanded into television production. MCA published music, booked acts, ran a record company, represented film, television, and radio stars, and eventually produced and sold television programs to the three major television networks, but had an especially good relationship with NBC.

PolyGram N.V. was an entertainment company and major music record label formerly based in the Netherlands. It was founded in 1962 as the Grammophon-Philips Group by Dutch corporation Philips and German corporation Siemens, to be a holding for their record companies, and was renamed "PolyGram" in 1972. The name was chosen to reflect the Siemens interest Polydor Records and the Philips interest Phonogram Records. The company traced its origins through Deutsche Grammophon back to the inventor of the flat disk gramophone, Emil Berliner.

Working Title is a British film and television production company owned by Universal Pictures. The company was founded by Tim Bevan and Sarah Radclyffe in 1983. It produces feature films and several television productions. Eric Fellner and Tim Bevan are now the co chairmen of the company.

NBCUniversal American media and entertainment conglomerate

NBCUniversal Media, LLC is an American mass media and entertainment conglomerate owned by Comcast and headquartered at 30 Rockefeller Plaza in Midtown Manhattan, New York City.

PolyGram Filmed Entertainment

PolyGram Filmed Entertainment was a British-American film studio founded in 1980 which became a European competitor to Hollywood, but was eventually sold to Seagram Company Ltd. in 1998 and was folded in 1999. Among its most successful and well known films were An American Werewolf in London (1981), Flashdance (1983), Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994), Dead Man Walking (1995), The Big Lebowski (1998), Fargo (1996), The Usual Suspects (1995), and Notting Hill (1999).

CBS Studios is an American television production company which is a subsidiary of CBS Entertainment Group unit of ViacomCBS. It was formed on January 17, 2006 by CBS Corporation as CBS Paramount Television, merging Paramount Television and CBS Productions. It is the television production arm of the CBS network, and, alongside Warner Bros. Television Studios, it is also the television production arm of The CW.

Columbia Pictures Television

Columbia Pictures Television, Inc. was launched on May 6, 1974 by Columbia Pictures as an American television production and distribution studio. It is the second name of the Columbia Pictures television division Screen Gems (SG) and the third name of Pioneer Telefilms. For 26 years, the company was active from 1974 until New Year's Day 2001, when it was folded into Columbia TriStar Television, a merger between Columbia Pictures Television and TriStar Television. A separate entity of CPT continues to exist on paper as an intellectual property holder, and under the moniker CPT Holdings to hold the copyright for the TV show The Young and the Restless, as well as old incarnations from the company's television library such as What's Happening!!.

NBCUniversal Television and Streaming is the television and streaming arm of NBCUniversal.

United International Pictures (UIP) is a joint venture of Paramount Pictures and Universal Pictures which distributes their films outside the United States and Canada. UIP also had international distribution rights to certain Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and United Artists films when MGM was part of the venture. In 2001, MGM left UIP, and signed a distribution deal with 20th Century Fox's overseas arm. The company formerly distributed DreamWorks Pictures releases internationally as well until 2005.

Tribune Entertainment was a television production and broadcast syndication company owned and operated by Tribune Broadcasting. The company was started in the mid-1980s. Many programs offered from Tribune Entertainment have been broadcast on the company's television stations.

NBCUniversal Television Distribution (NUTD), formerly known as Universal Television Distribution, is the television distribution arm of the NBCUniversal Television and Streaming division of NBCUniversal, a subsidiary of Comcast, in the United States. Its predecessors include NBC Enterprises, Universal Domestic Television, Universal Television Distribution, MCA TV, Multimedia Entertainment, PolyGram Television, and Studios USA Television Distribution. At some point in its history, it was also known as "NBCUniversal Television & New Media Distribution" and "NBC Universal Television and New Media Distribution.” This unit is possibly the parent for the similarly named "NBCUniversal Domestic Television Distribution" unit.

Multimedia Entertainment was an American television production/distribution company originally formed in 1968.

Universal Pictures Home Entertainment Home video distribution division of Universal Pictures

Universal Pictures Home Entertainment is the home video distribution division of American film studio Universal Pictures, owned by the NBCUniversal Film and Entertainment division of NBCUniversal, which is owned by Comcast.

USA Broadcasting

USA Broadcasting was an American television broadcasting company owned by the veteran entertainment industry executive Barry Diller. This company was the over-the-air broadcasting arm of USA Networks. Before founding USA Broadcasting, Diller was a helper in Gulf+Western's failed Paramount Television Service and News Corporation's new Fox Broadcasting Company that was launched on October 9, 1986.

Paramount Domestic Television

Paramount Domestic Television (PDT) was the television distribution arm of American television production company Paramount Television, once the TV arm of Paramount Pictures. It was formed in 1982 originally as Paramount Domestic Television and Video Programming, the successor to Paramount Television Domestic Distribution, Paramount Television Sales, and Desilu Sales.

Universal Content Productions (UCP) is a television production company operating within the NBCUniversal Content Studios division of NBCUniversal.

Paramount Television (original) TV production division of Paramount Pictures

The original incarnation of Paramount Television was the television production division of the American film studio Paramount Pictures, operating from 1967 to 2006.

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