Burbank, CA (October 12, 2007)–News has broken that NBC Universal plans to relocate its famed “wonderful downtown Burbank” broadcast studios to a 14.5-acre site opposite the Universal Studios lot in Los Angeles. The move is reportedly set for completion by 2011.
The news comes as the network unveils its NBC News World Headquarters studios, which will open later this month, at 30 Rockefeller Plaza in New York. That newsroom and production facility will serve as the home to NBC News and WNBC-TV, as well as MSNBC, which is relocating from New Jersey.
Meanwhile, NBC is upgrading Studio One on the Universal Studios lot in preparation for Conan O’Brien taking over from Jay Leno in 2009 on The Tonight Show, which is currently produced in Burbank. Studio One was originally built in 1961 for The Jack Benny Program and has housed film and TV productions such as Knight Rider, Bruce Almighty and Desperate Housewives.
According to plans posted online by environmental planners Christopher A. Joseph & Associates for NBC Universal’s developer, Thomas Properties Group, the initial phase of what is referred to as the Metro Universal Project includes a 655,200-sq-ft office complex and a media production facility about half that size. The complex, which is to include retail space and restaurants, will sit atop the MTA’s Metro Red Line subway stop, next to the 101 Freeway, and is designed to wrap around the historic Campo de Cahuenga site, where hostilities between Mexico and the U.S. were ended in 1847.
The new L.A. facility, to be known as the West Coast News Headquarters and Content Center, will encompass high-definition network facilities, NBC News’ L.A. bureau, local news studios for KNBC and Telemundo’s KVEA-TV, plus production for Access Hollywood, NBC’s syndicated entertainment show. Plans include a street-level studio similar to NBC’s midtown Manhattan Today set.
The plans are subject to approval by the city, and are reportedly partly dependent on the sale of NBC’s 34-acre Burbank lot. Some parts of that property will need to be retained for some years during the new construction to allow for a smooth transition.