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CBS Enterprises Inc.

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CBS Enterprises Inc.
CBS Enterprises Inc logo.jpg
Founded 1952
Dissolved May 3, 1971 (became Viacom Enterprises)
Notable Works I Love Lucy
The Honeymooners
The Twilight Zone
Perry Mason
The Dick Van Dyke Show
What's My Line?

For the later CBS syndication unit by this name, see CBS Enterprises

CBS Enterprises Inc. was the original syndication division of CBS. It is a predecessor of what is now CBS Media Ventures.


CBS Enterprises was founded in 1952 by CBS as CBS Television Film Sales to distribute programs, produced either by the network itself or by independent producers, that originally aired on the network once those programs' early seasons entered off-network syndication. It also distributed shows that were produced for first-run syndication by CBS or by other companies. In 1958, the company name was shortened to simply CBS Films. In 1960, CBS Films significantly increased its back catalogue when it acquired the pre-1960 library of Desilu Productions which had been put up for sale by Desilu co-founder Desi Arnaz (Desilu, however, kept the shows it produced which had debuted before 1960 but which were still in production at the time, such as The Untouchables). In January 1968, CBS announced another name change for its distribution unit to CBS Enterprises as part of an expansion of the company's operations.[1]

When the Federal Communications Commission ruled in 1970 (with the introduction of the Financial Interest and Syndication Rules, or fin-syn) that the American broadcast networks could no longer distribute their own programs for off-network syndication or produce first-run syndicated programs due to concerns about the networks monopolizing the broadcast landscape, the networks had to sell or spin off their distribution units. As a result of the FCC fin-syn ruling, CBS chose to rename CBS Enterprises as Viacom Enterprises on May 3, 1971 and spun it off as an independent company in 1973.

The majority of the CBS Films/Enterprises catalogue is now under the ownership of CBS Media Ventures. The CBS Enterprises name was later reused between 1996 and 2006 for another distribution company owned by CBS after the fin-syn rule was abolished by the FCC in 1993, and the CBS Films name was reactivated in 2006 by CBS as the name for the network's theatrical film production division (which is otherwise not directly connected to the original company except in name).


  1. Broadcasting Magazine, January 29, 1968 (page 8)

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