When Elvis Presley appeared on the "Ed Sullivan Show" for the first time in 1956, he taped his performance here at CBS Television City, a studio later made famous as the place where the "Carol Burnett Show," "The Sonny & Cher Show" and dozens of other CBS programs originated. The imposing building lies just to the north of Farmers Market, bearing the familiar eye logo of the CBS network.
CBS (the Columbia Broadcasting System) was the premiere network at the dawn of the television age. They dominated television in its early years, producing such mega hits as "I Love Lucy," "Dragnet," "The Jack Benny Show" and "Gunsmoke" in the 1950's; "The Ed Sullivan Show," "The Andy Griffith Show," and "Candid Camera" in the 1960's; and groundbreaking sitcoms such as "All in the Family," "M*A*S*H" and "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" in the 1970's.
CBS is the network that gave us "Dallas," "The Beverly Hillbillies," "The Waltons," "Hawaii Five-0," "Murder She Wrote," and Walter Cronkite. Their February 28, 1983 broadcast of the final episode of "M*A*S*H" was the most-watched program in television history, seen by 106 million viewers.
More recently, they had hits with "Murphy Brown," "Cybill," "Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman," "Chicago Hope", "The Nanny, ", "Touched By An Angel," "Nash Bridges," "Everybody Loves Raymond" and "Becker".
Today, the various "CSI" crime shows still regularly top the Neilson charts, as does "NCIS", "The Big Bang Theory", "Two and a Half Men", and that CBS standby, "60 Minutes"
have fared well.
In September of 1999, Paramount Studios' parent company, Viacom, announced that it was buying the CBS network, in what is the largest media merger in history.
CBS TV City (on Fairfax), was built in 1952 on the former site of Gilmore Stadium. This is where the network tapes many of the nation's favorite television programs, including soap operas (such as "The Young & the Restless"), occasional sitcoms, talks shows such as the "Late Late Show" ( hosted by Craig Kilborn), and "Dennis Miller Live"," as well as two popular game shows: the new "Hollywood Squares" and the classic "The Price is Right."
On a typical day, you'll see long lines of would-be "Price is Right" contestants waiting out front (on the studio's west side), sporting large name tags on their shirts, and hoping that once inside, Bob Barker will tell them to "Come on down!"
Over the years, some of the biggest hits on TV have been taped at CBS TV City, including the original "Twilight Zone" (with Rod Serling), variety shows like "The Smothers Brothers," "The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour," "The Carol Burnett Show," "The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour," "Tony Orlando & Dawn" and "The Jacksons" - and talk shows like "Art Linkletter's House Party," "The Dinah Shore Show," "The Mike Douglas Show" and "The Merv Griffin Show." And TV specials featuring the likes of Jack Benny, Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, Doris Day, Steve Martin, George Burns, Lily Tomlin, Elton John and Bob Hope... to name just a few.
Many of today's TV shows require live audiences, and the tickets to these tapings are free. If you're just interested in seeing a TV show being recorded live, and don't really care which TV show it is, you can just walk up to the studio's ticket office (near the corner of Beverly & Fairfax) and pick up your tickets right on the spot. If you have your heart set on a particular show, though, especially if it is a popular one, then it may be wiser to write first, requesting tickets for a later date. Or phone for details. (See the separate page about tickets to TV tapings.)
When David Letterman brings his "Late Show" out to the west coast, he tapes it here at CBS Television City, and you can get tickets to his rare L.A. shows if you write far enough in advance. But you'll discover that most of the sitcoms broadcast on CBS (such as "Cybill") are taped at their CBS Studio Center in the Valley, or at other studios such as Warner Bros (where "Murphy Brown" is taped).
They even make an occasional movie here. Remember the scene from the Tom Hanks' film "That Thing You Do" where 'The Wonders' appeared on national TV? That scene was shot on Stage 33 at CBS TV City.
There are no public tours of CBS TV City, and that's a shame. I had the opportunity to see the inside of the studio while trying out for a game show, and it's quite an interesting place.
There is a
CBS gift shop, though, which is open to the public. They sell a variety
of studio souvenirs: mugs, key chains, t-shirts, jackets and the like,
most emblazoned with that famous CBS eye logo. The gift shop is located
just around the corner from the ticket booth (at the northwest corner
CBS TV City). It's open 11 AM - 4 PM. The studio itself keeps 9-5
hours. Handicap parking is available at the studio lots.
Other visitors can park at the large paid lots at The Grove, next door.
there are two other CBS studios in the greater Los Angeles region,
besides CBS TV City. One, Columbia
Square, is located near Sunset & Gower and is home to the local
Channel 2 (KCBS) which is a CBS affiliate. Their third studio (CBS
Studio Center) is located in the San Fernando Valley, and is used
for taping many of the TV sitcoms shown on all three networks.
Getting there: CBS TV City is located just north of Farmer's Market, at the southeast corner of Fairfax Avenue and Beverly Blvd. / From Hollywood & Vine, take Vine Street south (about two miles) to Beverly Boulevard. Turn right (west) on Beverly and go two miles west to Fairfax Boulevard. The studio will be on your left (south) side / Alternatively, from the Santa Monica (10) Freeway, take the Fairfax Avenue exit. Go north on Fairfax (about three miles) to Beverly Blvd.
more information on this subject, you can access the official CBS website
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