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NBC leaving Burbank

‘The Tonight Show’ and other heavyweights on the network that draw city business would go to Universal City in 2011.

October 13, 2007|By Jeremy Oberstein

BURBANK — NBC said good night to Burbank on Thursday, leaving some residents and city officials wary of its absence and others excited about new and different possibilities.

The 56-year relationship between NBC and Burbank is coming to an end, as the studio plans to move its operations to Universal City in 2011, officials announced.

The move will include “The Tonight Show” studios and all news operations, including KNBC, Spanish language television KVEA and “Access Hollywood,” NBC announced.

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The network plans to build a multilevel, environmentally friendly production facility across the street from Universal Studios.

The project will integrate the latest in energy- and water-efficient technologies. It will also feature a technologically advanced studio with HD news and Internet capabilities, officials said.

But many in Burbank are wondering of the effects such a move will have on the city, not the environment.

Burbank’s transition to a media center was formed more than 70 years ago. In the early 1930s, Warner Bros. moved to Burbank. In 1940, the Walt Disney Co. followed suit, and in 1951 NBC moved to Burbank.

But while NBC may have helped make Burbank the “media capital of the world,” its loss won’t change the city’s status, Burbank Chamber of Commerce President Gary Olson said.

Burbank’s reputation as the media capital was cemented and continues to gain traction as the city is home to hundreds of media companies, Olson said.

“I don’t see any noticeable [economic] impact on Burbank,” he said. “We have to take a look at what we still have. Disney is here, Warner Bros. is here, and I don’t think they’re going anywhere any time soon. Plus, we have more than 700 ancillary media companies operating in Burbank. I think the marquee as ‘the media capital of the world’ still prevails.

“‘The Tonight Show’ is the big [loss], but NBC leases out space to ‘[The] Ellen [DeGeneres Show]’ and ‘Days of Our Lives,’ so there will be a certain amount of stability.”

John Flynn, a retired NBC newscaster and Burbank resident, was less optimistic about Burbank’s reputation.

“It’s certainly going to affect the view of the city as the entertainment capital,” he said. “It can’t help but be diminished.”

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