Today's the day that television station KCET has to be out of its historic former movie studio on Sunset Boulevard. Everyone has been told to vacate by 3 p.m., I'm told — though many are no doubt already on site at the new digs in Burbank. Bittersweet day for some, I expect. I ask everybody I run into from KCET whether they are happy about the move, and the feedback I get is about equally split. The lot was sold last year to the Church of Scientology, which will continue to operate it as a video studio (with some pretty nice digital equipment that's being left behind.)
Mark Lacter has a story in the April issue of Los Angeles magazine analyzing how the station's switch to independence from PBS is going. His conclusion: "KCET isn't thriving — it's merely hanging on." The station says the movie to Burbank will help trim costs. Plus there are the proceeds of about $29 million from the sale of the Sunset Boulevard property.
Anyway, for the record here'a a short clip of video I shot in the back passageways, in the control room and on the Tavis Smiley set a few years ago. Often called the "longest continuously-producing studio in Hollywood," the acreage was first used for movies in 1912. Some of the brick buildings were erected in 1920 when the lot was run by actor Charles Ray. Monogram Pictures and Allied Artists were among the production companies that later called the site home. The studio is City of Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument number 198. The address of the old KCET studio is 4401 Sunset Boulevard.
The new home in Burbank is at The Pointe, a media complex near NBC. Gensler designed the two floors that KCET is occupying. From the station's press release today:
"We will always remember our rich history of pioneering productions and special events on the Sunset lot, but we’re eager to begin a different chapter and offer viewers more exciting stories about issues that affect their communities,” said Al Jerome, President and Chief Executive Officer for KCET. “As part of phase two of our transition to independence, the move solidifies our commitment to continue to serve as the primary public media voice in our region and give our viewers a fresh take on local news and information.”
KCET occupies two floors (approximately 55,000 square feet) in the brand new LEED GOLD certified facility with an open, expansive floor plan featuring 10-foot floor to ceiling vision glass panoramic views of the city and mountains.
The Pointe complex boasts three acres of picturesque plaza landscaping with lush greenery, walkways and benches. The building is centrally located along studio row in Burbank, across the street from NBC and adjacent to Disney, Warner Bros. and ABC studios with immediate access to three major Southern California freeways: 101, 134 and 5.
Some of the tenants in the building include: Warner Bros., Fidelity Investments, DC Comics and Outlook Amusements.
KCET will have access to the latest technologies, all new equipment and resources for optimal broadcast transmission and production efficiency. One of its two production studios will be equipped with three robotic cameras and a green screen virtual reality set (the same technology which now fuels major motion pictures). Green screen backgrounds and backdrops will replace the need to build large, expensive sets for each KCET production.
The new address for KCET is 2900 West Alameda Avenue, Burbank CA 91505. The phone numbers are in the 747 area code.
Added a few things after posting
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