|Former type Corporation|
Area served Worldwide
|Headquarters United States|
Founded July 1953
|Industry Television syndication
Home video distributor|
Fate Folded into Paramount Domestic Television
Owner American Broadcasting-Paramount Theatres, Inc. (1953–1973) Independent (1973–1979) Taft Broadcasting (1979–1988) Spelling Entertainment Inc. (1989–1991) The Charter Company (1991–1992) Spelling Entertainment Group (1992–1999) Blockbuster, Inc. (controlling interest, 1993–1994) Viacom (1994–1999)
Parent organizations Spelling Television, National Amusements
Successors Paramount Domestic Television (1999–2006)
Worldvision enterprises 1988 1999
Worldvision Enterprises, Inc. was a television program distributor established in July 1953 as ABC Film Syndication, the domestic and overseas program distribution arm of the ABC Television Network. They primarily licensed programs from independent producers, rather than producing their own content.
- Worldvision enterprises 1988 1999
- ABC Films Syndication
- Worldvision Enterprises
- Legal issues of the name
ABC Films Syndication
On March 27, 1954 (1954-03-27), American Broadcasting-Paramount Theatres, Inc. created the ABC Films Syndication, Inc. (AFS), a subsidiary headed by George Shupert, which specialized in syndication and in-house program production. By January 1956, AFS formed a 50/50 joint venture production company, Rabco Productions, with Hal Roach, Jr..
In January 1956, AFS president announced an expansion in production and sales staff for the year. Five new properties were acquired by the company with all receive pilots with two set for syndication if not placed nationally. Two were to be produced by John Gibbs and Meridian Pictures, "Renfrew of the Mounted" and "Ripley's Believe It or Not!" while Rabco's Bernard Fox was assigned "Forest Ranger". The two pilots set for production were "The Americano" by Martin Gosch and filmed in Spain and "The Force" produced by Victor Stoloff about the plain clothed Canadian Mounties division. Two shows, Code 3 and The Three Musketeers were already under production for syndication.
In 1959, ABC International created Worldvision Enterprises to syndicate programs to overseas markets. Henry G. Plitt, previously Paramount Gulf Theatres president, became president of the company in February 1959 to replace Shupert after he left for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Kevin O’Sullivan later became president of the company.
In 1971, the FCC barred the participation of networks in the syndication of their own programs, though this rule was eliminated by 1993. Worldvision Enterprises was formed by five former ABC Films executives to purchase the network's syndication assets in 1973.
Their home video division released numerous Hanna-Barbera titles and Jack Nicklaus' Golf My Way instructional video series. They were also responsible for the television distribution of a majority of the Carolco Pictures feature film library (inherited from Orbis Communications, which was a division of Carolco before the studio went bankrupt).
Worldvision has been owned by many companies over the years. The growth of its home video division was primarily under the ownership of Taft Broadcasting, which acquired the company in 1979. In October 1987, Taft's assets including Worldvision was acquired by Great American Communications.
Television producer Aaron Spelling, attempting to find an outlet to distribute his programs, attempted to buy Worldvision from Great American, but chief company shareholder Carl H. Lindner told Spelling that he was not interested in selling the company. Lindner did agree to sell Worldvision to Spelling Productions for 50% of Spelling, Inc., the combined company, in 1988.
In August 1994, Worldvision's Spelling Premiere Network was launched. The network's initial years shows were Robin's Hoods, Heaven Help Us, and University Hospital, Heaven's mid-season replacement.
When Spelling Entertainment merged with Viacom in 1999, Worldvision's operations were folded into Paramount Domestic Television.
Legal issues of the name
The company's logo, as it appeared at the end of the programs it distributed, carried the following disclaimer: "Not affiliated with World Vision International, a religious and charitable organization." This was because, in the mid-1970s, the charity sued the syndicator for its use of the "Worldvision" name. They eventually settled, with Worldvision allowed to continue using the name for the syndication company, provided that a disclaimer was included to distance themselves from World Vision International, which has been implemented since 1974.