United Artists Television

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United Artists Television
Founded 1956
Dissolved 1983 (merged with MGM Television to become MGM/UA Television)
Notable Works The Fugitive
The Outer Limits
Gilligan's Island
The Patty Duke Show

For the similarly-named revival of this company, see United Artists Media Group.

United Artists Television (UATV) was an American television production and distribution company.


UATV was founded in 1956 as the television arm of the United Artists film studio. UATV produced a number of popular shows for the American networks like The Outer Limits, The Patty Duke Show, Gilligan's Island and The Fugitive.

UATV parent United Artists purchased Associated Artists Productions (AAP) in 1958, inheriting the pre-1948 Warner Bros. film library and the Popeye cartoons AAP had acquired from Fleischer Studios and Famous Studios (Paramount Pictures' animation unit), which made the animated shorts between 1933 and 1957. With the UA purchase, AAP was renamed United Artists Associated (UAA) and became the distribution division of UATV. In 1960, UATV bought and merged Ziv Television Programs, a television syndicator and production company, leading to a name change for the merged company to Ziv-United Artists. Despite the merger, Ziv-United Artists, like when it was UATV, did not have much success with its series in prime time network television, and the company phased out Ziv's operations and returned to its original name, UATV, in 1962.

Two of what would be UATV's most successful series in the long term, The Fugitive and Gilligan's Island, made their debuts one year apart, on September 17, 1963 and September 26, 1964 respectively. Part two of the Fugitive series finale, which aired on August 29, 1967 and saw the clearing of protagonist Richard Kimble (David Janssen) of the charge of murdering his wife and the killing of the actual culprit, the one-armed man Fred Johnson, drew 30 million viewers and was the highest-rated episode of a TV series in history until the "Who Shot JR" episode of Dallas on November 21, 1980, while the series itself has had a lasting legacy on American television and also spun off a 1993 film based on the show, starring Harrison Ford as Richard Kimble, as well as a short-lived remake of the series in 2000. Gilligan's Island did respectably well in its original network run on CBS, and became more popular in syndication following its last-minute cancellation in 1967 (it had been slated for a fourth season), leading to several spinoff TV movies, two animated series and a reality series called The Real Gilligan's Island.

In 1967, insurance company Transamerica purchased United Artists and UATV. With the purchase, UATV followed its parent company's lead and incorporated Transamerica's stylized T logo in 1968. Also in 1968, UAA was renamed as United Artists Television Distribution. Beginning in 1969, UATV co-produced The Pink Panther Show with DePatie-Freleng Enterprises and later distributed the show in syndication.

Transamerica sold United Artists, including UATV, to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in 1981. UATV dropped the Transamerica T logo in favor of briefly using the stylized UA logo adopted by United Artists in 1982 before MGM merged its television unit, MGM Television, with UATV to form MGM/UA Television in 1983, although shows carrying a UATV copyright byline continued to be produced until 1995. From 2005 to 2006, Sony Pictures Television distributed the UATV shows that were under MGM ownership; after the SPT distribution deal ended, MGM Television resumed distribution of its UATV catalogue.

MGM Television now owns and distributes most of the shows originally made and distributed under the UATV banner, with a few exceptions:

  • Gilligan's Island was retained by Ted Turner's Turner Entertainment following that company's 1986 purchase of most of MGM/UA's physical and intellectual properties. The series copyright is now shared by Turner Entertainment (now an in-name-only subsidiary of Warner Bros. Entertainment) and the estate of Phil Silvers, whose production company Gladasya co-produced the show, with distribution handled by Warner Bros. Television (which, with Turner, are both owned by WarnerMedia)
  • The AAP/UAA catalog was acquired by Turner Broadcasting as part of the 1986 MGM/UA purchase and was kept by Turner after it later sold the MGM/UA trademarks and the United Artists studio and most of its library back to previous owner Kirk Kerkorian. WBTV now owns the TV distribution rights through parent WarnerMedia's ownership of Turner
  • The Fugitive, which was co-produced with Quinn Martin's QM Productions, was later distributed by ABC Films (which became Worldvision Enterprises in 1973). Worldvision and QM were both purchased by Taft Broadcasting in 1979. The QM catalog later went to Spelling Entertainment, which was later purchased by Viacom, whose Paramount Television assumed the distribution rights before Viacom split into two companies, CBS Corporation and the "new" Viacom. CBS retained ownership of Paramount Television (which was renamed CBS Paramount Television), whose distribution unit, since renamed CBS Television Distribution (now CBS Media Ventures), now owns the distribution rights to The Fugitive

List of shows produced by United Artists Television

For programs later produced by UATV which were originally produced by Ziv Television Programs, see that company's article.

Title Format Buyer Year(s)
Men Into Space Science Fiction CBS 1959–1960
East Side/West Side Drama CBS 1963–1964
The Patty Duke Show Sitcom ABC 1963–1966
The Fugitive Drama ABC 1963–1967
The Outer Limits Anthology ABC 1963–1965
Gilligan's Island Sitcom CBS 1964–1967
The Hollywood Palace Variety ABC 1964–1970
My Mother the Car Sitcom NBC 1965–1966
Mona McCluskey Sitcom NBC 1965–1966
Hey, Landlord Sitcom NBC 1966–1967
The Rat Patrol Military drama ABC 1966–1968
The Mothers-in-Law Sitcom NBC 1967–1969
The Pink Panther Show Animated anthology NBC 1969–1978
ABC 1978–1979
Thirtysomething Drama ABC 1987–1991
James Bond Jr. Animated adventure Syndication 1991–1992

External links