CBS Television City Could Be Declared Historic Landmark
One of the most well-known television facilities in the world, CBS Television City, could soon receive protection from development as a historic landmark.
“From Television City in Hollywood…”
For decades, those words preceded a variety of programs produced at CBS’s massive studio complex on Beverly Boulevard.
An effort is now underway to protect the facility from development and redevelopment. Earlier this month, The Los Angeles Times reported the Los Angeles’ Cultural Heritage Commission approved a plan to declare the studio complex a historic and cultural monument. The move came after rumors that CBS planned to put the property up for sale and learned to value of the property upon which the studio was built was worth as much as $900 million.
My first (and so far only) visit to CBS Television City came in October of 1997. At the time, I worked for a CBS station that was launching its first noon newscast. I had the idea of going out to CBS’s west coast headquarters and doing behind the scenes stories on The Price is Right and The Young and the Restless, the two shows that would surround our little noon endeavor.
I went along with the anchor who would voice all of the segments and our fantastic videographer who would shoot everything.
I was there for two important reasons.
First, we decided to split the writing and producing: the anchor would handle the ‘Y&R’ pieces, and I take care of the ‘Price’ pieces.
Second, my station’s general manager knew that I was enough of a Price is Right fan that I’d go ballistic if he didn’t send me along.
He was a smart man.
The first day we were there, we focused on The Young and the Restless which tapes daily in two sessions. Crews assemble sets for the morning session the night before, then assemble sets for the afternoon session while the morning session is underway. Sets that aren’t used the next day are dismantled and then rebuilt the next time they’re needed. (Studio space is limited enough that they can’t keep sets standing indefinitely, which means there are sets that have been used on the show for years that have been taken apart and put back together year after year.
The second day we were there, we were across the large hangar-sized hallway at Studio 33 where they tape The Price is Right. It was there that I had the chance to Bob Barker, Barker’s Beauties, and announcer Rod Roddy.
There was a moment, after rehearsal was over but before the audience was brought into the studio, that I stood upstage near the spot where Barker would stand during the one-bids of the show. During that moment, as I stood on that spot, it dawned on me how many legendary figures in the entertainment industry had stood right there where I was standing. That same stage, for instance, is where Carol Burnett did her weekly variety show. Jack Benny stood there for his CBS program. Red Skelton stood there. Elvis Pressley stood there.
The list would take days to compile.
For a TV and nostalgia buff like me, it was a surprisingly powerful experience.
I hope CBS Television City is protected. There’s so much good history from our collective childhood that originated at that complex!