Bye-bye Burbank


"Beautiful downtown Burbank" is losing its most famous corporate resident. NBC Universal announced plans to create a new HD West Coast News Headquarters and Content Center in Universal City and expand Stage One on the Universal lot for the 2009 debut of "The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien."
The LA construction plan was announced yesterday as NBC Universal President and CEO Jeff Zucker proclaimed completion of the new NBC News World Headquarters in New York, following six months of construction to create the new HD facility which will move nearly all NBC News and MSNBC programs under one roof. The new Manhattan facility will be fired up on Monday, October 22nd, with the 6:00 am broadcast of MSNBC’s "Morning Joe" from Studio 3A. 12 and a half hours later the "NBC Nightly News will Brian Williams" will air from its new home in renovated Studio 3C.

NBC’s West Coast transition requires construction of a new building above the Red Line Subway station in Universal City, so no one will be moving in until at least 2011. The new facility will house the NBC News Los Angeles Bureau, KNBC-TV (Ch. 4, NBC), KVEA-TV (Ch. 52, Telemundo) and "Access Hollywood." The new facility is being built with "green" features to reduce energy and water use and NBC Universal notes that being located above the subway station will allow people to reach the building by public transit.
NBC Universal will not be entirely vacating its current 34-acre studio lot in Burbank, but some parts will be put up for sale. NBC Uni says it will likely retain part of the facility and lease back others, allowing it to continue to produce shows in Burbank for many years to come.

TVBR observation: And what of the other hot story about NBC circulating yesterday? Yes, the Financial Times report that GE might try to sell NBC Universal after raking in the cash from the 2008 Beijing Olympics did give the stock a boost. But the rumor has been floating around Wall Street for some time and was reported more than a month ago by BusinessWeek. Tune back in next year to see what happens.