Four Star Television (initially known as Four Star Productions and later known as Four Star International) was an American production company founded in 1952 that produced and created several popular American television shows throughout the 1950s and '60s. The "Four Star" name came from its four founders being notable Hollywood actors: Dick Powell, David Niven, Charles Boyer and Ida Lupino, all of which sometimes starred in their own productions. note
Much of the shows produced were notable for their retroactive All-Star Casts, mostly full of actors from The Golden Age of Hollywood that had either retired from the movies or were friends with the founders, whereas the new youngsters that they were sharing the screen with would later become big television stars in their own ways (notable ones are Lee Majors, Adam West, Linda Evans, etc.).
Unfortunately for the company, its heydays were very brief. Dick Powell, who became the company's president a few years after its foundation, died suddenly in January 1963. With no clear direction, profits dried up: several shows were cancelled after one season and rivals were destroying it in television ratings. Eventually, Four Star Television was sold, and then sold again, and went defunct in 1997, two years after former producer Ida Lupino's death.
The Four Star library is now owned by Disney, with the following exceptions:
- The Rifleman — owned by original co-producer Levy-Gardner-Laven Productions.
- Trackdown — owned by original co-producer and broadcaster CBS.
- Wanted: Dead or Alive — was also a CBS co-production, but is now owned by StudioCanal.
- PDQ — owned by MGM Television, who acquired the library of co-producer Heatter-Quigley.
And no, this has nothing to do with any online abridged series.