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NBC leaving Burbank for Universal

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NBC leaving Burbank for Universal

NBC Universal plans to sell part of its site in "beautiful downtown Burbank," home to the studio housing "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno," and move to a new broadcast facility across the street from Universal Studios.

NBC (which is owned by General Electric Co.) will take the "Access Hollywood" set, local news operations and other facilities with it when it moves into the new location in 2011.

Meanwhile, it plans to move "The Tonight Show" to the nearby Universal Studios' Stage One lot when Conan O'Brien takes over hosting duties upon Leno's departure in 2009.

The new facilities will be located in a new building adjacent to a subway line connecting Universal City, in the southeast corner of the San Fernando Valley, to downtown Los Angeles. They will be across the street from Universal Studios, the Universal Studios Hollywood theme park and the CityWalk tourist destination.

"When looking at our long-term business operations, we realized there are very real strategic and synergistic opportunities in bringing our production facilities and talent together to grow in Los Angeles," Tom Smith, senior vice president of West Coast real estate for NBC Universal said in a statement posted Thursday on the KNBC-TV Web cite.

Company officials said they are pursuing opportunities to sell part of the 34-acre studio lot in the Burbank Media District. They would lease it back for news operations until the University City facility is finished.

The Burbank studio, purchased in 1951, was made famous by the late "Tonight" show host Johnny Carson's frequent tongue-in-cheek references to its location in "beautiful downtown Burbank."

Burbank Mayor Marsha Ramos said she was sad to learn the show is leaving the Los Angeles suburb of some 105,000 residents.

"`The Tonight Show' put us on the map," she told the Los Angeles Times. "Without that line from Johnny Carson about beautiful downtown Burbank, most people wouldn't even know that we exist."

NBC officials say the new facility will include virtual studios, interactive graphic capabilities, a glass-walled newsroom and other modern features.

Its news set will be modeled in part after the network's "Today" show set in New York and will host the "Today" show and NBC's "Nightly News" whenever those programs broadcast from Los Angeles.

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