Big Ticket Television, Inc. (also known as Big Ticket Entertainment and Big Ticket Pictures) is an Emmy award-winning production company that is a unit of CBS Television Studios (formerly CBS Paramount Television), a division of CBS Corporation since the split of Viacom at the end of 2005, best known for producing Judge Judy which premiered on September 16th 1996.
The company was launched on October 21, 1994 under the Spelling Entertainment Group, who named former Warner Bros. Television and Spelling Television executive Larry Lyttle to run the division. Lyttle wanted to name the company as Blockbuster Television, named after its parent company Blockbuster, Inc., but Viacom opposed the idea because the chain's fate was unclear. Viacom by that time owned Blockbuster Inc. and its 67% stake in Spelling Entertainment Group since September 29. Lyttle chose the name Big Ticket by driving by a Blockbuster store and noted Blockbuster's "big ticket" logo. Big Ticket was created primarily as an outlet for non-drama TV series from Spelling, which was largely known for hit dramas at that time. All of its programming was distributed by Spelling's syndication arm, Worldvision Enterprises.
In 1999, Spelling Entertainment was bought out by Viacom, resulting in Paramount Domestic Television (which Viacom had owned since its 1994 acquisition of Paramount Pictures) becoming Big Ticket's distributor in June 1999. On June 29, 2003, Paramount Television combined Big Ticket Television's production operations with its network and syndication outputs after Lyttle left before his final year was over. In 2006, PDT became CBS Paramount Domestic Television and later CBS Television Distribution in 2007.
Bruce Kerner and Mark Johnson worked on shows produced by BTT between 1995-2002 when Night Stand with Dick Dietrick premiered, Johnson also worked on Wolf Lake, Kerner also worked on The Terminator directed by James Cameron & starring Arnold Schwarzenegger.
From 2002-2004, BTT produced The Jamie Kennedy Experiment for The WB created by Mad TV creators Fax Bahr and Adam Small & starring Blockbuster Entertainment Award winner Jamie Kennedy who is best known for playing Randy Meeks in the Scream franchise. The Jamie Kennedy Experiment was also a co-production with Warner Bros. Television Larry Lyttle also worked at Warner Bros. Television before joining Spelling Television and running BIg Ticket.
Big Ticket's most widely viewed productions are the courtroom series Judge Judy and Judge Joe Brown (ended in 2013), with the former debuting in 1996 and the latter in 1998. This left Judge Judy as the company's only program in the 2013-14 television season, although most of the production is done by CBS as the company has been largely a figurehead organization since the CBS takeover of Viacom's television unit. In fall 2014 Big Ticket also began to produce the three-judge court show Hot Bench, which is created and executive-produced by Judge Judy Sheindlin through her own production company, Queen Bee Productions.
Big Ticket also produced the sitcom Moesha, its spin-off The Parkers and the stopmotion animated comedy Gary & Mike for UPN, the dramas Hack created by David Koepp & starring David Morse and Wolf Lake created by John Leekly & starring Lou Diamond Phillips for CBS (only five episodes of the latter aired on CBS before cancellation, but all nine were shown on UPN), and the talk show parody Night Stand with Dick Dietrick for syndication. For the second (and final) season of the court series Swift Justice, Big Ticket became the production company after the series moved from Atlanta to Los Angeles and shared a studio with Judge Judy and Judge Joe Brown.
- "Los Angeles Times" October 21, 1994 Spelling Names Execs to Head New TV Comedy Unit articles.latimes.com, Retrieved on September 9, 2013
- Coe, Steve "Highbeam Research" Blockbuster's next TV move is Big Ticket. (Big Ticket Television) (Brief Article) highbeam.com, Retrieved on September 9, 2013
- Paige Albiniak and John Eggerton 6/29/2003 Paramount Grabs Its Big Ticket broadcastingcable.com, Retrieved on September 9, 2013
- "Viacom Completes Merger With Blockbuster". techagreements.com.
- Michael Schneider "Variety" Par to close Big Ticket variety.com, Retrieved on September 9, 2013