Paramount Television

Paramount Television

Infobox Defunct Company
company_name = Paramount Television
defunct = January 17, 2006
slogan = Spell your entertainment
fate = Merged with CBS Productions
successor = CBS Paramount Television
foundation = December 1967
closed = (January 17, 2006)| location = Los Angeles, California, USA
industry =
key_people =
products = Television Production
num_employees =
parent = Gulf+Western (1967-1989)
Paramount Communications (1989-1995)
Old Viacom (now CBS Corporation) (1995-2005)
New Viacom (2006)

Paramount Television was an American television production/distribution company that was active from December 1967 to January 17, 2006.

Its successor is CBS Paramount Television. Its predecessor is Desilu Productions.


The company was known for producing and distributing programs such as "The Andy Griffith Show", "Happy Days", "Cheers", the "Star Trek" franchise, "Girlfriends", "Duckman" and the daily Paramount staple "Entertainment Tonight", among others.


The predecessor company, Desilu Productions, was originally founded in 1951 by Lucille Ball (1911 – 1989) and Desi Arnaz (1917-1986) for the purpose of producing their sitcom, "I Love Lucy", for the CBS network. later produced other shows, such as "Our Miss Brooks", "The Untouchables", ', "The Andy Griffith Show", "Mannix", and ' (the latter 4 would be continued under Paramount Television).

Paramount Pictures had made a couple of attempts in the mid-50s to produce series themselves under the Telemount (Television + Paramount) banner. The first, "Cowboy G-Men", was a joint effort with Mutual Broadcasting for syndication. The second, "Sally" starring Joan Caulfield, was a short-lived series on NBC during the 1957-58 season. Before that, Paramount owned a de facto television network, the Paramount Television Network, and had a stake in a full-fledged network, the DuMont Television Network; alongside outright ownership of two TV stations: KTLA in Los Angeles and WBKB (now WBBM-TV) in Chicago.

ale and re-incorporation

In 1967, Ball, by then sole owner of Desilu, sold the company to Gulf+Western Industries. Desilu was merged with G+W's movie studio (and Desilu's next door neighbor) Paramount Pictures, resulting in Desilu's re-incorporation as Paramount Television in December of that year.

The first PTV production to premiere after the re-incorporation was "Here's Lucy". Paramount only produced the first season however, and the rights were later sold to Telepictures (now Warner Bros. Television).

Failed network plans

Paramount Television had plans to launch a television network in the late 1970s, the Paramount Television Service, with a new "Star Trek" series as the cornerstone of the network. But these plans were scrapped, and ' was reworked into '.

Barry Diller, who came up with the 4th network idea, continued to pitch the idea to the board of directors. They continued to resist the idea until Diller left Paramount in 1984. He moved to 20th Century Fox, who agreed to launch a 4th network after Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation purchased the studio and several independent stations. The new network, the Fox Broadcasting Company, is now one of the top 4 major television networks in the United States.

Relationship with ABC

In the past, the network which Paramount Television had the most success on was ABC Fact|date=October 2008. Every year between 1969-1992, at least one long-running Paramount Television production was on the ABC lineup. The most successful PTV shows on the network were "The Brady Bunch", "Love, American Style" (both from 1969-74), "The Odd Couple" (1970-75), "Happy Days" (1974-84), "Laverne & Shirley" (1976-83), "Mork & Mindy" (1978-82), "Taxi" (1978-82 on ABC, 1982-83 on NBC), "Webster" (1983-87 on ABC, 1987-89 in syndication), and "MacGyver" (1985-92). These were but a few of the Paramount Television productions to air on ABC.

In contrast, for years Paramount Television had been relatively unsuccessful on the other two "Big 3" networks. After 2 long-running PTV shows on CBS (' and "Mannix", both of which were inherited from Desilu) ended in the mid-1970s, the company did not have another hit on the network until "JAG" moved over from NBC in the 1996-97 season and lasted 9 additional seasons on CBS. PTV also assumed production of the cult hit ' on NBC from Desilu, but lasted only one full season under the Paramount Television banner on NBC and the studio did not have another hit on that network until "Cheers" and "Family Ties" premiered in 1982.

The relations between ABC and Paramount were far more than just the line of successful television series. Paramount's old theater chain, United Paramount Theaters purchased the ABC network in 1953 and helped turn it into a major player. In 1974, Paramount sold its record label holdings, the Famous Music Group, to ABC (MCA would acquire ABC Records in 1979, and the Paramount record holdings are now owned by Universal Music Group).

Ownership changes and library expansion

In 1989, Gulf+Western was re-incorporated as Paramount Communications. That firm was sold to Viacom in 1994. Around that time, Paramount finally launched a TV network, the United Paramount Network, or UPN for short, co-owned with Chris-Craft Industries. PTV produced the bulk of the series airing on UPN, including the first program ever shown on the network, "". UPN became 100% owned by Viacom in 2000 after Chris-Craft sold its share (its TV stations were sold to News Corporation).

The Viacom merger gave Paramount a larger TV show library as well, since Viacom had television production and distribution units as well prior to the Paramount acquisition (the distribution company, Viacom Enterprises, was merged into Paramount Domestic Television while the production company, Viacom Productions, continued as a PTV division until 2004). Viacom's logo continued to appear at the end of certain series however (like "Matlock", except on prints airing on the Hallmark Channel). Paramount Television then distributed the Carsey-Werner Productions library for a couple years (inherited from Viacom Enterprises) until C-W formed its own distribution unit.

Paramount continued to build its TV library. In 1999, Viacom acquired full interest in Spelling Entertainment Group, and the rights to Rysher Entertainment's TV holdings. That same year, Viacom acquired CBS, which had actually spun off Viacom in 1971. PTV began to produce more shows airing on CBS (it already produced "JAG" and "Nash Bridges", having acquired the latter from Rysher), including such hits as "JAG" spin-off "NCIS" and "Criminal Minds".

In 2000, Paramount Television acquired syndication rights to the DreamWorks Television-produced sitcom "Spin City", anticipating Viacom's acquisition of DreamWorks by 5 years.

In 2004, Viacom Productions was folded into Paramount Television, ceasing to exist after 30 years of television production. The last series produced by Viacom Productions to premiere was "The 4400" (which aired on USA), the second season was then produced by PTV. It is also the last VP-produced show to be canceled, having suffered that fate in December 2007.

The end of Paramount Television

At the end of 2005, Viacom was spun off from CBS and split into two completely separate companies, one of which was called CBS Corporation, the other retaining the Viacom name. Despite Paramount Pictures being owned by the new Viacom, the Paramount TV library was inherited by CBS, and was merged with CBS Productions on January 17, 2006, forming CBS Paramount Television. The company kept the Paramount Domestic Television logo intact on television until May 28, 2006. However, the network version was used until June 10, 2006.

Because National Amusements, which retains majority control of both CBS Corporation and the new Viacom, CBS programs(both before and after the split) are still distributed by Paramount Home Entertainment.

UPN also became part of CBS Corporation, and a week after CBSPT was formed, CBS announced they were closing down UPN and merging it with The WB Television Network (owned by Time Warner) to form The CW Television Network, inheriting several series from both networks.

In 2008 CBS dropped the Paramount Television name and is currently using the name CBS Studios,Inc.

ee also

* Desilu Productions
* CBS Paramount Television
* CBS Paramount Domestic Television
* Paramount Domestic Television
* DreamWorks Television
* Viacom Productions
* Making Fiends

External links


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