‘Tonight Show’ to stay in Burbank eight more years

“The Tonight Show” will hang around Burbank for a while longer.

NBC’s late-night stalwart has agreed to stay put for several years at the historic movie and television lot where Johnny Carson turned the fondly mocking reference to “beautiful downtown Burbank” into a national running joke, the lot’s landlord said Tuesday.

Terms of the agreement weren’t disclosed, but the eight-year lease was valued at $35 million by real estate experts familiar with studio rental rates.

NBC agreed to rent Studio 9 and Studio 11 for “The Tonight Show” on the Burbank lot where top entertainers and newscasters have broadcast to the nation since the 1950s. NBC owned the lot until 2008, when it completed the sale of the 34-acre property at 3000 W. Alameda Ave. to Worthe Real Estate Group, a Santa Monica-based developer and landlord, which named the facility the Pointe.


Studio 11 was rebuilt to house Jay Leno and his audience when he began broadcasting “The Jay Leno Show” at 10 p.m. on weekdays in 2009. It was an upgrade from his previous studio on the same lot. He had hosted “The Tonight Show” since 1992.

Conan O’Brien took over “The Tonight Show,” and it moved to Universal Studios. After O’Brien was ousted this year, Leno again became host of the venerable program. He continued to use Studio 11 in Burbank, where he will stay.

Last month, NBC announced it would convert O’Brien’s former studio to offices and broadcast studios for the Los Angeles bureau of NBC News and local affiliate KNBC. The news teams are expected to move from the Burbank lot to Universal Studios in 2012.

“The Tonight Show” broadcasts from Studio 11 and uses Studio 9 for rehearsal, production and skits, said Jeff Worthe, who co-owns Worthe Real Estate Group with M. David Paul. The two facilities have a combined total of about 100,000 square feet.


When NBC sold its historic Burbank home, it announced it would occupy the lot as a tenant until at least 2012 and would continue to lease parts of the lot for several years beyond that date. NBC Universal plans to build a new office and studio facility for NBC in Los Angeles across the street from Universal Studios, but the project has yet to be approved by city officials.