May 8, 2015 – If you’ve been following the television industry lately, you might have noticed a string of series finales – in the case of as CBS’ ‘CSI’ – or downright cancelations – as is the case with Fox’s ‘Mindy Project’ and NBC’s ‘About A Boy.’
While television cancelations are the norm, all the aforementioned shows are filmed on the Universal lot. CSI is filmed in soundstage 22, 23, 24 and 25 while the Mindy Project and About A Boy are filmed in soundstage 27 and 29, respectively.
Since productions have a tendency to ebb and flow depending on the industry trends, it’s hard to come to any definite conclusions about the status of Universal’s backlot. That being said, the string of closures – coupled with recent rumblings from our sources – does leave us puzzling on the future status of Universal’s lot.
It’s no secret that Comcast – NBCUniversal’s parent company – is looking to expand the breadth and scope of its domestic parks. While Universal Orlando Resort still has a limited amount of land at its disposal (choosing to expand its Islands of Adventure park with a new King Kong attraction), Universal Studios Hollywood is notoriously locked – limited severely by its surrounding neighbors and the adjacent studio. While not much can be done about the former, Universal has shown some signs that they are willing to wrestle with the latter in order to make way for the park.
Recall the demolition of soundstage 28 – one of Universal’s most historic lots. While many observers were skeptical of our initial report concerning soundstage 28’s impending demolition, Universal’s hastened takedown of the stage cemented a new era for the property. Though the production of film and television still remain central to Universal City’s future, NBCUniversal no longer appears to be willing to maintain the property’s status quo of studio first, theme park second in lieu of rapid theme park growth.
So what does that have to do with soundstage 22, 23, 24, 25, 27 and 29? Well, when one takes a look at the current status of the Lower Lot, one can probably see that there’s very little in the way of potential expansion space – save for the sprawling backlot located near Revenge of the Mummy: The Ride, Transformers: The Ride – 3D and Jurassic Park. With the Upper Lot nearly filled to capacity, the Lower Lot and its close proximity to the backlot appears to be the most logical site of future expansion.
So while it may be too soon to say the surrounding lots will be demolished in the immediate future (it’s hard to imagine NBCUniversal dictating the production schedules of CBS and Fox), it may be useful to reevaluate the status of Universal’s backlot in the coming decade.
Jon Fu is the editor-in-chief of Inside Universal.
Jon originally founded InsideUniversal.net in 2006 as a summer hobby aimed at providing families and fans a resource for all things “Universal Studios Hollywood.” Since then, the website has taken him throughout the United States and around the world – including to places like Universal Orlando Resort, Universal Studios Japan and Universal Studios Singapore.
Jon currently resides in Santa Cruz, California. You may reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.