Despite the current shortage of theatres, both on and Off-Broadway, the latest news on the long-fallow Times Square Theatre is decidedly undramatic. According to a report in the New York Times (Nov. 19), executives at CBS-TV are eyeing the West 42nd Street venue as the home for a possible new studio.
NBC's "Today Show," with street-level windows looking out on Manhattan's Rockefeller Center, has become a conspicuous midtown tourist attraction -- and a ratings winner. Other networks are now looking to capitalize on the New York spirit for their morning shows.
According to the Times, the Times Square Theatre had been under option by Billboard Live International, which wanted to turn the venue into a "theme restaurant featuring live music and entertainment." With midtown rents skyrocketing that option, plus options by MTV & Marvel Mania for a theme restaurant, were also dropped. CBS would not comment to the Times about the network's real estate plans.
Built in 1920, The Times Square Theatre on the north side of 42nd Street was home to the original production of the newspaper drama The Front Page, the Gershwins' Strike Up the Band and the U.S. premiere of Noel Coward's Private Lives, but was turned over to movies in 1934. It is surrounded on three sides by Livent's new Ford Performing Arts Center, which is scheduled to open Dec. 26, 1997 with previews of Ragtime. The Times Square Theatre is diagonally across 42nd Street from the refurbished New Amsterdam Theatre, where Lion King is playing, and around the corner from where the lighted ball drops on New Year's Eve.