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 whom 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 to businessman David Charnay, and then sold again to Ron Perelman, who folded the company into New World Television. The business went defunct in 1997, two years after former producer Ida Lupino's death, when 20th Century Fox parent News Corporation fully absorbed New World.
The Four Star library is now owned by Disney following its purchase of most of Fox, with the following exceptions:
- The company itself is still owned by the spin-off company Fox Corporation, but its sole purpose now is to handle all pre-existing liabilities held by New World as well as to handle ownership claims to the New World stations that Fox still owns.
- 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.