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Spelling Television, Inc.
Type In-name-only unit of CBS Television Studios
Founded Los Angeles, California, USA (1969)
Key people Leslie Moonves, President & CEO, CBS Corp
Products Television Production
Parent independent (1969-1988)
Spelling, Inc. (1988-1989)
Spelling Entertainment, Inc. (1989-1995)
Blockbuster, Inc. (1994-1995)
Spelling Entertainment Group, Inc. (1995-1999)
Viacom (1999-2006)
CBS Corporation (2006-Present)
Subsidiaries Worldvision Enterprises (1988-1999) Merged into CBS Television Distribution
Laurel Entertainment
Torand Productions
Big Ticket Television

Founded by the television producer Aaron Spelling in 1969, Spelling Television, Inc. (also known as Aaron Spelling Productions, Spelling Entertainment and Spelling Entertainment Group) was a television production company that produced popular shows such as Sunset Beach, Charmed, Beverly Hills 90210, 7th Heaven, Dynasty and Melrose Place. Aaron Spelling took his company Aaron Spelling Productions public in 1986 after raising $80 million.

In 1988, Aaron Spelling Productions acquired Laurel Entertainment and Carl Lindner, Jr.'s Worldvision Enterprises, Inc. All three companies became part of Spelling, Inc. A share in the company was acquired by Blockbuster Entertainment (which was being sold to Viacom) in 1994. The remainder of Spelling Entertainment was then acquired by Viacom/Paramount in 1999, but the deal closed in 2000.

Before the merger with Viacom, most of Spelling's shows were distributed by Worldvision, with older Spelling shows distributed by several others including Warner Bros. Television, 20th Century Fox Television and Sony Pictures Television).

After the merger, Spelling Entertainment integrated Worldvision into their Republic Pictures unit thus, dismantling Worldvision as a production company. Worldvision distribution functions continued for a short time until Paramount Television assumed distribution functions (Viacom had bought Paramount Pictures in 1994).

The company can be credited with helping several networks (ABC, Fox, the WB, and the CW) with successful shows. In the 1970s/early 1980s it was ABC when at one point Spelling-produced shows outweighed other production companies by a large margin. At one point, Aaron Spelling had so many shows on ABC, industry insiders dubbed ABC "Aaron's Broadcasting Company." Spelling himself was never amused with this name. In the early 1990s Beverly Hills 90210 and Melrose Place helped propel Fox even higher and reach a new generation of young teen viewers.

In the 1990s the WB was launched and their longest running, highest rated and most successful show during their time in operation was 7th Heaven for ten seasons. By 2006, another new network, the CW, used 7th Heaven in their first season in operation as the newest network.

Spelling's ABC, Fox, and WB shows were enormously successful for the company and they wasted no time entering into the world of merchandise in the 80's and 90's.

The company also was one of the first production companies to actively run a website for a show they produced when the internet was just taking off in the 1990s. The website was for Melrose Place.

The company's first home was a suite of offices on the old Warners lot in Hollywood. A newer base followed when the company was an original anchor tenant of the Wilshire Courtyard buildings in LA's revitalized Miracle Mile district. Aaron Spelling was said to have loved his old office's 1970s shag carpet so much that he had it removed piece by piece and installed in the new office. The company grew so large with so many different entities that at one point it leased all three top floors of the 5700 building and held additional office space across the street. The company briefly moved to Santa Monica in 2006.

By 2000, Aaron Spelling remained active and involved as CEO until his death in 2006. Company president Jonathan Levin handled day to day operations and longtime Spelling producing partner, E. Duke Vincent helped guide the successful production company.

Spelling Television was eventually downsized even further and became a unit of CBS Paramount Television (that company was eventually renamed CBS Television Studios in late 2009), which is itself a division of CBS Corporation after the split of Viacom/Paramount and CBS Corp. at the end of 2005. The company effectively stopped operating as a separate company (it became a small "production shingle" under CBS Paramount Television with a small staff) until Aaron Spelling's passing in 2006.

7th Heaven was the last series produced by Spelling Television broadcast on network television.

The company is currently an in-name-only unit of CBS Television Studios.

Contents

Spelling's library today

Currently, all television programs that were produced by Spelling Television are distributed by CBS Television Distribution.

The Spelling Television company logo and series were seen on broadcast television for the last time during the rerun of the 7th Heaven series finale on September 16, 2007. Spelling's logo continues to appear on the covers of DVD releases of the Spelling library (except for Twin Peaks, and those shows owned by Sony Pictures Television).

In late 2008, some of Spelling Television's productions, including Beverly Hills 90210, Melrose Place, Twin Peaks, and The Love Boat began streaming full episodes live on CBS's website under the classic's page. Beverly Hills 90210 for example streams at the following link: http://www.cbs.com/classics/beverly_hills_90210.

Aaron Spelling's television programming lives on through the internet albeit with the CBS Paramount Television (or CBS Television Studios) or CBS Television Distruibution logos now firmly slapped on the end of every episode even though originally they had nothing to do with their production. It is interesting to note how in later years, CBS as a network lost interest in doing business with Aaron Spelling and Spelling Television while all other networks did not. It's ironic that CBS Corporation now controls Spelling's most successful series.

Spelling Entertainment Group

The Spelling Entertainment Group logo.

Before the full acquisition by Viacom, where only Spelling Television would be left standing as a separate operating unit after the acquisition, Spelling Entertainment Group's holdings consisted of the following:

After the late 2005 corporate split between Viacom and CBS Corporation, some of the above have gone to each company. Films mostly went to Viacom's Paramount Pictures unit and television with CBS Corporation's CBS Television Distribution unit.

Past names

  • Aaron Spelling Productions (1969-1989);
  • Spelling Entertainment Group (1989-1992);

See also

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