Friday, September 17, 2010

NBC Turns Conan's "Tonight Show" Studio Into KNBC's New Home

NBC Universal will turn its empty "Tonight Show With Conan O'Brien" soundstage into the home for KNBC and NBC News' Los Angeles bureau.

Move will take place in 2012. That means KNBC will move out of Burbank after 50 years.

Feeling a bit of deja vu? Yep, KNBC announced in 2007 that it would relocate to a property across the street from Universal Studios.

Thomas Properties is developing that site, dubbed "Metro Studio @ Lankershim," a 650,000-square-foot project located on Lankershim Boulevard where an MTA Red Line subway stop and a parking lot stand.

But that complex, originally targeted to open in 2011, was delayed by entitlements and other issues (local homeowners raised a fuss over traffic concerns, for example).

According to a Thomas representative, Metro Studio @ Lankershim is still in the works and is now targeted to open at the end of 2016 or early 2017.

NBC U is still expected to be a major tenant at that time, and KNBC may make another move then. But for now, 2016-17 is too far away for the station, which also needs a fresh coat of paint.

Hence the Universal lot's Stage One, which has been dark since O'Brien signed off earlier this year. NBC U announced Thursday that it would remodel the building into a two-story high-definition studio and newsroom housing both operations.

NBC U sold its longtime Burbank lot in 2008 to M. David Paul/Worthe Real Estate Group; since then, it has leased back much of the facility.

Besides KNBC and NBC News' L.A. bureau, the lot continues to be the home of KVEA, "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno," "Access Hollywood" and "Daysof Our Lives," among others. NBC Entertainment moved to the Universal lot a few years ago.

Plan will separate KNBC and Telemundo's KVEA, which previously operated as a duopoly. That's because NBC U is also shopping for a new facility that would consolidate KVEA, Telemundo network news, the network's sales department and its spinoff channel Mun 2 all under one roof. Those divisions are scattered across Burbank, Glendale and Universal's CityWalk.

A Telemundo rep said NBC U is looking at several locations for the network's operation, and it hopes to move by the end of 2011.

Read more about it here at Variety.

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