Oprah Winfrey Network to Move to The Lot in WeHo

The Lot

The Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) soon will be calling West Hollywood home. OWN has signed a multiyear lease for offices at The Lot at 1041 North Formosa Ave. and Santa Monica. The Hollywood Reporter, which broke the story today, said OWN will occupy three floors of a five-story building, with its move scheduled to occur by the end of the year.

OWN, founded three years ago by the celebrated talk show host and co-owned by Discovery Communications, now occupies offices at 5700 Wilshire Blvd. on the “Miracle Mile,” where it is said to employ about 200 people.

The move adds another prestigious entertainment industry business to West Hollywood, which houses more than 200 firms focused on entertainment activities such as production and editing, talent management, film, television and recording. Among them are Geffen Entertainment, Interscope, Ridley Scott and Associates and Virgin Records.

The Lot is an iconic location in the film business. It got its start as a modest film studio built in 1918 by Jesse D. Hampton. It soon was purchased by Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks, who renamed it Pickford-Fairbanks Studios. Pickford and Fairbanks joined D.W. Griffith and Charlie Chaplin in 1919 to form United Artists, and the area now known as The Lot housed several independent producers, including Samuel Goldwyn. Among the films made there were “Robin Hood” (1922), “Wuthering Heights” (1939), “Some Like it Hot” (1959) and “L.A. Confidential” (1997). The land was auctioned off in 1955 after a court battle between Pickford and Goldwyn. Goldwyn outbid Pickford, and it became Samuel Goldwyn Studio until Warner Bros. acquired it in 1980. It sold the property in 1999, and it was renamed The Lot.

Renovations on The Lot by its current owner, CIM Group, have provoked some local controversy. CIM razed the “Pickford Building” in April 2012 despite protests from preservationists. CIM now is proposing to alter its earlier plans for the property to reduce the square footage of new construction and to preserve the historic buildings along Santa Monica Boulevard and Formosa Avenue.

Winfrey’s OWN has been on an apparent rebound after dismal results in the first two years after its debut in January 2011. In 2012 OWN was forced to lay off 30 employees, or about 20 percent of its staff. Later that year Winfrey partnered with Tyler Perry whose “The Haves and Have Nots” series has been a major driver of viewers.

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Lynn
Lynn
8 years ago

@steve: Rudolf’s comments are generally “on point” and follows city issues rather comprehensively. Many folks avoid driving past that area as much as possible to avoid being caught up in the exponential traffic meltdown.

Rudolf Martin
Rudolf Martin
8 years ago

Steve, I walk by there every day but if one guy with a broom and pick up truck is preliminary work then I am happy to hear it. But I appreciate the update and I sure hope you are right about the next few weeks, the Trader Joe’s is sorely missed by many of us.
Sal Gomez, interesting point indeed.

Mike
Mike
8 years ago

Why is the new building called Formosa South when it’s on North Formosa?

Steve
Steve
8 years ago

Rudolf, maybe you don’t get out a lot. Preliminary work has started–I’ve seen it. The city was holding up demo permit for some reason but now that’s cleared and from what I hear, full demo will begin in the next few weeks.

Sal Gomez
8 years ago

This is good for local business who will benefit from the foot traffic and customer dollars the influx of new workers to The Lot. This also justifies for CIM the demolition of the storied “Pickford” building and legendary “Goldwyn” mixing stage by having OWN occupy several floors and offices in the new cement block they constructed last year. However…a new question has to be asked, Why has the newly revised and approved comprehensive redevelopment plan that was recently approved by the planning commission been delayed twice before it is sent to city council? If new changes are made to this… Read more »

Rudolf Martin
Rudolf Martin
8 years ago

… meanwhile on the other side of “The Lot” it is almost 5 years that all the small businesses have been evicted and almost 1 year that Trader Joe’s left. We were told that demolition would begin in the fall of 2013 and construction in early 2014. It doesn’t look like there are plans to proceed at all, since all the stores have now been boarded up. Is the developer just stalling, speculating on rising land value? Is there anything the city could have done to prevent these pockets of urban wasteland from being created? Is there anything the city… Read more »

jax
jax
8 years ago

building giant apartment boxes is not an upgrade. when the 3 apartment complexes on santa monica blvd near la brea open, this area will be in continual gridlock.

Larry Block
Larry Block
8 years ago

Very exciting for the Creative City.! OWNward and upward! Now lets get Google to the Red Building –

Rudolf Martin
Rudolf Martin
8 years ago

This has nothing to do with the city and everything to do with The Lot and CIM Group who put up that building. But the city and local business will benefit from a few hundred employees filling that new office building on The Lot and eating and shopping in the area. Good for everyone. Still, I’d like to see a traffic plan but that’s wishful thinking.

Chris Sanger
Chris Sanger
8 years ago

This is a big deal. The city’s drive to upgrade its eastern side is really paying dividends.

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