I went to Universal Animation Studios (formerly Universal Cartoon Studios) today. Boxes were stacked in the hallways. Most of the offices were empty. One of the remaining staffers said to me:
"We're finishing the last episodes of Curious George. All the shows have been shipped now, and the last designer is finishing up this week or next. We'll be in post on the show until next March, but we'll be moving to a corner of the black tower's twenty-fifth floor in the next few weeks. Universal will be renting out most of the floor to somebody else."
"... I don't think Universal is making any announcements about closing Universal Animation Studio. They're just not going to have any shows, or do any productions, or have any executives. Recently they haven't had much interest in doing animation. They want to pick up produced projects, but they aren't going to be creating anything here ..."
Which is a shame, since UAS has done some pretty good work over the years.
The studio came into existence in the early nineties, a couple of years after Warner Bros. Animation sprang back to life with Tiny Tunes, and Disney TVA was moving into high gear. The last of the slower-witted congloms realized there were tidy sums to be made in television animation. Universal set up its own studio, followed by Viacom with Nick a couple of years later.
Universal, back in the day, proclaimed that it wanted to be a major television producer, and it recruited artists and directors from Warners and Disney. But outside of the perennial money spinner Land Before Time, nothing really took off. U never achieved its own Pinky and the Brain or Duck Tales, never became a major teevee animation producer.
And it's always seemed a little sad to me, because the potential was there. The place just never got running on all eight cylinders.
Adios, Universal Cartoon/Animation Studios. It was fun while it lasted.