Los Angeles Business Journal

Show Biz’s Role in Los Angeles

Universal Studios was right to scrap plans for residential development to focus on entertainment and tourism. By Tom LaBonge Monday, September 3, 2012

One Adam-12, one Adam-12, report to 3900 Lankershim Blvd. and compliment Universal Studios on its new plan for the future, which focuses on its core business of television and movie production, and tourism.”

If you looked at the L.A. skyline 50 years ago, you would know this was always the place to roll cameras. Look to the west and you could see the back lot for 20th Century Fox, just north of Pico Boulevard. Look into the San Fernando Valley and there were a great many movie ranches. And, of course, there was Universal Studios, where “Adam-12” was shot.

But what a difference the decades have made. The Fox back lot made way for the skyscrapers of Century City. Warner Ranch became the Warner Center development. And only Universal Studios now remains as the last great back lot in our metro area. When these properties and jobs disappear, they do not come back.

Some weeks ago, I stood together with Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky and Ron Meyer, president of Universal Studios. The big announcement was that Universal was dropping its plans to develop its back lot into housing and would instead focus on its core businesses of entertainment production and tourism. I could not agree more with this decision.

In an era of runaway production and declining industry in the city of Los Angeles, I want to remind everyone that we have not yet called “cut” on creating entertainment in this town. Los Angeles has been and will continue to be the city where movies, television shows and great tourist experiences are made.

Of course, we will always have a need for construction of new housing here in Los Angeles. Everyone in the world wants to come to California, as they should, and there will always be a desire for more apartments and homes. But Los Angeles should not just be a great place to live, although living here is indeed great. Los Angeles must remain a place to work.

Core business

I applaud Universal Studios for its decision to focus on its core businesses. A big pat on the back goes to Comcast, NBC Universal’s new parent company, for deciding to preserve not only local jobs but an entire economy that revolves around Universal Studios’ business.

I would like to issue a similar challenge to our local politicians and elected officials. I’d like us to pitch the same script all around town: Let’s focus on saving production and let’s do what we can to keep entertainment jobs in this metro area.

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