LOS ANGELES – After more than a half-century, NBC Universal is dropping the curtain on “beautiful downtown Burbank.”
The media company plans to announce today that it is selling much of the 30 acres it owns in Burbank, including its legendary NBC Studios on Alameda Avenue, home to such iconic programs as “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” and, before that, “The Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson.”
NBC Universal intends to relocate to a new complex planned on Lankershim Boulevard, across the street from its Universal Studios entertainment complex. NBC Universal expects to move into the new center in 2011.
Separately, NBC Universal confirmed that “The Tonight Show” is remaining in Los Angeles when Conan O’Brien replaces Leno in 2009. With the Burbank facility on the block, the network is expanding and upgrading Studio One, a sound stage on the Universal Studios lot that was built in 1961 for “The Jack Benny Program,” to be the new home of the late-night program.
NBC has ambitious plans for its new digs, which it has dubbed the West Coast News Headquarters and Content Center. The company intends to be the anchor tenant of a project of more than 1 million square feet being proposed to the city of Los Angeles by Thomas Properties, NBC Universal’s developer for the project.
The new building is expected to have a street-side studio modeled after the “Today” show set in New York, as well as state-of-the-art production facilities that will allow the company’s news organizations to share content more easily, executives said.