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The GE Building is an Art Deco skyscraper that forms the centerpiece of Rockefeller Centermarker in Midtown Manhattan. Known as the RCA Building until 1988, it is famous for housing the headquarters of the television network NBC. At 850 feet (259 m) tall, the 70-story building is the 9th tallest building in New York Citymarker and the 32nd tallest in the United Statesmarker. The building is sometimes referred to as 30 Rock, a reference to its address at 30 Rockefeller Plazamarker.


Rockefeller Center with (then) RCA Building, December 1933
The building was completed in 1933 as part of the Rockefeller Centermarker. The noted Art Deco architect Raymond Hood led a team of Rockefeller architects. It was named the RCA Building for its main tenant, the Radio Corporation of America, formed in 1919 by General Electric. It was the first building constructed with the elevators grouped in the central core. The National Broadcasting Company, also owned by General Electric, leased space in the building.

The office of the Rockefeller family occupied Room 5600 on the 56th floor. This space is now occupied by Rockefeller Family & Associates, spanning between the 54th floor and the 56th floor of the building. In 1985, the building acquired official landmark status. The RCA Building was renamed as the GE Building in 1988, two years after General Electric re-acquired the RCA Corporation.


Facade of the GE Building
The GE Building is one of the most famous and recognized skyscrapers in New York. The frieze located above the main entrance was executed by Lee Lawrie and depicts "Wisdom", along with a slogan that reads "Wisdom and Knowledge shall be the stability of thy times", from Isaiah 33:6 (KJV). The vertical detailing of the building's austere Art Deco facade is integrated with a slim, functionally expressive form. The present exterior is recognized for the large GE letters at the building's top. The famous marquee above the building's entrance is seen on numerous television shows, such as Seinfeld. Unlike most other tall Art Deco buildings constructed in the 1930s, the GE Building has no spire on its roof.

Some of the building's nicknames include The Slab and 30 Rock. The latter is also the title of the NBC sitcom 30 Rock, which follows the cast and crew of a fictional television show filmed inside the building. The television show uses the building for exterior shots while interior shots are filmed at Silvercup Studiosmarker in Queensmarker.

KWO35, the NOAA Weather Radio station for the majority of the Tri-State area, transmits from atop the GE Building at 162.55 MHz.

NBC Studios

The building is well known for housing the headquarters of NBC and the New York facilities of NBC Studiosmarker. In 1996, NBC bought the of space it had leased since 1933. The purchase allowed the company to introduce new technologies and renovate the space; it also gave them options to renew the lease on the Today Show studios, broadcast from a nearby building, 10 Rockefeller Plaza. The office of Jack Welch, former chairman and CEO of General Electric, is located on the 51st floor of the GE Building.

The building's studios include Studio 8H, the home of Saturday Night Live. Studio 8H was once the largest radio studio in the world, originally home to the NBC Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Arturo Toscanini. It was converted into a television studio in 1950. The Tonight Show was also taped at the GE Building in Studio 6-B from the early Jack Paar years until 1972, when the show moved to Burbankmarker, Californiamarker. Late Night with Jimmy Fallon now occupies the former Tonight Show space. During its run, Rosie O'Donnell broadcast her syndicated talk show from the building.
Below the building is a shopping concourse, connected to the lobby via an escalator. The open lobby's rich materials and reduced black and beige ornamental scheme is enhanced by dramatic lighting. Granite covers the building base to a height of 4 feet (1.2 m), and the shaft has a refined facade of Indiana Limestone with aluminum spandrel panels.

The top floor of the GE Building is an event room and restaurant named the Rainbow Roommarker, which was recently revamped and reopened to the public with new operators. The famous photograph Lunchtime atop a Skyscraper was taken there when the building was under construction in 1932. The Rainbow Room announced on January 4, 2009 that it would no longer operate as a restaurant due to the economic downturn.

NBC Studio productions

Studio Production Notes
1A The Today Show,
Dateline NBC,
Countdown with Keith Olbermann

The network's daily morning program is produced at a ground-level windowed studio across 49th Street from the GE Building since the mid-1990s, at 10 Rockefeller Plaza; it was previously broadcast from inside the skyscraper. Studio 1A is a multilevel studio currently used for multiple shows including the studio segments of Dateline NBC and MSNBC's Countdown with Keith Olbermann. During the 2007 renovations of NBC News headquarters, Sunday editions of NBC Nightly News were broadcast from the second floor of this studio. The studio was also used by WNBCmarker temporarily in October 1996 due to a fire in 6B, and NBC Nightly News for a short period during decontamination of the broadcast's facilities and offices in October 2001 due to the 2001 anthrax attacks.
2K MSNBC Secondary HD Control Room Debuted October 22, 2007, and is the home to MSNBC programs. An MSNBC/NBC News Newsroom connects control room 2K and studio floor 3A.
3A MSNBC main studios and headquarters Debuted October 22, 2007, and is the home to many MSNBC programs including the main news desk where MSNBC Live and other MSNBC programs are shot. An MSNBC/NBC News Newsroom connects Studio 3A and Studio 3C.
3B MSNBC Former home of the Today Show, Dateline NBC and NBC Nightly News. Mainly used for coverage of the 2008 presidental election
3C NBC Nightly News,
NBC Nightly News Weekend Edition
The network's flagship news program. Shares newsroom with Studio 3A. Debuted on October 22, 2007 after renovations. Nightly News used the studio previously, though on a different set.
3K MSNBC Virtual Studio A green screen room designed for coverage of Decision 2008. former home of NBC Nightly News and NBC Sports.
6A The Dr. Oz Show A former home of Late Night with David Letterman, Late Night with Conan O'Brien, and NBC Radio network programs from 1933-1950s. Beginning September 2009 home of The Dr. Oz Show.
6B Late Night with Jimmy Fallon Texaco Star Theater (1948-1954). Also the original home of The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, The Tonight Show Starring Jack Paar and NBC Nightly News. Former home for the news studio for flagship station WNBCmarker.
6C NBC Digital Studios The current home of such web based shows as "The Untitled News Comedy Show", "Starstruck", and "A Big Life with Sissy Biggers"
7E News 4 New York Content Center The current home of the news studio for WNBC-TVmarker, the network's flagship station.
8G Football Night in America/NBC SportsDesk Former home of The Rosie O'Donnell Show, The Caroline Rhea Show, and The Jane Pauley Show, as well as the original Jeopardy! from 1964-75. NBC Nightly News used this studio during the 2007 renovations of NBC News headquarters, except on some Sunday evenings where, due to football programming, the news was broadcast from Studio 1A.
8H Saturday Night Live Former home of Last Call with Carson Daly
Former home of the NBC Symphony Orchestra under Arturo Toscanini
51 LX New Yorkmarker LX New York Studio for WNBCmarker
Exterior 30 Rock Exteriors of the building and scenes which are filmed on location are filmed outside GE Building as well as various other locations at Rockefeller Plaza. Interiors are filmed at Silvercup Studiosmarker in Long Island City, Queens.

The building is also the headquarters for Bravo, Chiller, MSNBC, Oxygen, Syfy, Sleuth, Universal HD and USA Network. CNBCmarker and CNBC World is headquartered in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey.

Observation deck

The observation deck atop the skyscraper, dubbed "Top of the Rock", reopened to the public on November 1, 2005, after undergoing a $75 million renovation. It had been closed since 1986 to accommodate the renovation of the Rainbow Room. The deck, which is built to resemble the deck of an ocean liner, offers sightseers a bird's eye view of the city, competing with the 86th floor observatory of the Empire State Buildingmarker.

The "Top of the Rock" had also been co-opted for NBC's Sunday Night Football during the 2006-07 season, with the top player/MVP in that night's game according to John Madden and Al Michaels receiving the honor of being that night's "Rock Star" in the form of a glass trophy display on the observation deck; this was a replacement for the Horse Trailer Award formerly awarded on ABC's Monday Night Football. The Horse Trailer honor was restored for the 2007-08 season.

See also

Further reading


  1. stock photo of "Wisdom"
  3. NewscastStudio Blog | Blog Archive | Cracking the case: MSNBC green screen | A blog about television news set design, news music, news graphics package design and television s...

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