RIOS to lead $1.25 billion revamp of L.A.’s landmark Television City

Renovations, Come On Down!

RIOS to lead $1.25 billion revamp of L.A.’s landmark Television City

Aerial rendering of TVC 2050 master plan. (Hackman Capital Partners)

One of Los Angeles’s hardest working television fixtures is getting a facelift.

Hackman Capital Partners, the owner of the CBS Television City studio complex in the Fairfax District, has announced that the iconic 25-acre campus—a city-designated Historic-Cultural Monument (HCM) since 2018—will be subject to a major expansion and modernization project headed by the L.A.-based multidisciplinary design practice RIOS. The project master plan, dubbed TVC 2050, marks a $1.25 billion investment in the historic studio complex, which was completed in 1952 as the first purpose-built television studio in the world courtesy noted masters of mid-century L.A. futurism, William Pereira and Charles Luckman.

The plan calls for redeveloping a sea of surface parking lots on the perimeter of Television City into 1.1 million square feet of additional studio and office space, more than doubling the existing 750,000 square feet of available space at the complex, which is exclusively leased by Hackman to ViacomCBS. A pair of 1990s-era soundstages would also be demolished to make way for new construction.

Per the master plan, the complex will gain 15 new soundstages, support facilities and production base camps, a new commissary, a multi-modal mobility hub, public realm and pedestrian/streetscape upgrades, and a “robust transportation demand management program.” TVC 2050 also calls for the restoration and protection of Television City’s landmark Pereira & Luckman-designed studio complex, including the original four soundstages and other design elements. Television City has served as the filming location for a sizable number of classic and contemporary television programs over the years including Maude, All in the Family, Three’s Company, The Carol Burnett Show, The Young and the Restless, the Late Late Show with James Corden, Dancing with the Stars, and storied game shows such as Wheel of Fortune (1989­–1995), Family Feud (1988-1995), and, perhaps most famously, The Price is Right.

exterior of a tv studio building
Entrance to the Pereira & Luckman-designed CBS Television City studio complex in L.A.’s Fairfax District. (Gary Minnaert/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain)

“Architect William Pereira’s original plan for the studio focused on flexibility and adaptability, calling for the eventual relocation, adaptation, and development of 24 stages and 2.5 million square feet of production space, including several multi‐story office buildings,” explained Bob Hale, creative director of RIOS (formerly Rios Clementi Hale), in a statement. “TVC 2050 realizes Pereira’s futuristic vision, allowing the studio to accommodate evolving technologies, sustainable infrastructure, and enhanced community and production experiences.”

In addition to Television City, Pereira, in collaboration with fellow Midwest expat and University of Illinois School of Architecture classmate Luckman, designed a number of 1950s-era Southern California landmarks including the original Disneyland Hotel (1958), the Theme Building at Los Angeles International Airport (1959, with Paul R. Williams and Welton Becket), and several Robinson’s department stores. Pereira and Luckman parted ways in 1959, nine years after establishing their eponymous practice.

Per a study conducted by the Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation, the Television City makeover is expected to produce nearly 19,000 direct, indirect, and induced jobs once operational with a total annual economic output of $2.4 billion. During the construction phases, the project’s total economic output is estimated at $2.1 billion.

Noting a commitment to ensuring that Television City “remains a robust job creator and world-class studio for decades to come,” Michael Hackman, founder and CEO of Hackman Capital Partners, explained in a news release that Los Angeles  “lacks the modern sound stages and production facilities to meet market demand, putting our region at risk of seeing the entertainment industry leave the state if we fail to invest in its future.”

Although safeguarding the architectural legacy of Pereira and Luckman plays a starring role in TVC 2050, historic preservation nonprofit the Los Angeles Conservancy has expressed worry about the ambitious master plan, noting: “While we support density and are glad to see reinvestment and job creation, we have serious concerns about where the density is being placed in the proposed new construction and how it will impact the historic studio building. ”

The Conversancy, which played an instrumental role in Television City securing its HCM designation, adds: “We believe there is a win-win opportunity and are hopeful we can work with the owners, Hackman Capital, toward a solution that will allow for expansion while still maintaining the look and feel of the beloved and iconic CBS Television City studio.”

Hackman Capital Partners, an L.A.-headquartered independent studio owner-operator, purchased Television City from the CBS Corporation in early 2019 for $750 million and oversees a considerable portfolio of TV and film studio complexes, media campuses, and production/post-production facilities, including historic Culver Studios and the Sony Pictures Animation Campus, both in Culver City, London’s under-construction Eastbrook Studios, Second Line Stages in New Orleans, and Silvercup Studios in Long Island City, Queens.