After 50 years, NBC is returning to Los Angeles.
The Peacock is expected to announce today that it plans to sell a large portion of its longtime 34-acre Burbank home and move across the street from Universal Studios, which the company acquired as part of its Universal purchase in 2004.
The network, as well as its West Coast news operations and local stations KNBC and KVEA, are expected to move to the new complex in 2011. Thomas Properties is developing the site, which would be located on Lankershim Boulevard where an MTA Red Line subway stop and parking lot now stand. News first leaked Tuesday afternoon on local real estate blog Curbed LA.
Most affected by the move: Burbank, the frequent butt of jokes by NBC stars through the years, including “Tonight Show” hosts Jay Leno and Johnny Carson — who memorably made fun of “beautiful downtown Burbank.” (NBC said it will still maintain some offices in the city.)
With most of the NBC’s Burbank lot set to be sold, the Peacock is said to be readying a new home for Leno successor Conan O’Brien, who will host “The Tonight Show” from Universal Studios’ Stage One starting in 2009.
After the NBC move, Burbank will still be home to two broadcast networks, ABC and the CW. Not far away, CBS is readying a move from the Fairfax district to Studio City, on its Radford lot.
Before moving to Burbank in the early 1960s, NBC’s West Coast headquarters were on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood. That building, dubbed NBC Radio City, was demolished in 1964. A Washington Mutual bank now sits on the site.
NBC is touting the new site as “green” friendly, pointing particularly to its location above a subway as one way to encourage public transit use. New building will also be equipped for high definition broadcast.
“The West Coast news headquarters is an incredibly exciting project on the horizon that will set a new standard for newsgathering and environmental design,” said NBC News prexy Steve Capus.
“Today, as we cut the ribbon on a state-of-the-art facility at our world headquarters in New York, we look to Los Angeles as an extension of that — giving us a world-class facility on both coasts, allowing for better collaboration among all our West Coast newsgathering operations and better serving our viewers both locally and nationally.”