Logo descriptions by James Fabiano, Shadeed A. Kelly, meesterfonnyboy, and AlekaJ1003 Logo captures by AsdfTheRevival, Eric S, Shadeed A. Kelly, mr3urious, V of Doom, Bob Fish, Dean Stewart Rumsey, DaBigLogoCollector, Gilblitz112, and Supermarty-o Editions by Shadeed A. Kelly, Bob Fish, and betamaxtheflyer Video captures courtesy of mstidham and SeanElGatoTelevision
Background: MGM Television was established in 1955 by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer under Loews, Inc. Its first program was the short-lived series The M-G-M Parade, which used the 1953 version of Jackie at the beginning rather than the end of the program. The company didn't use an end logo until 1957. Most of the pre-1986 library is owned by Warner Bros. Entertainment through Turner Entertainment Co., while MGM Holdings Inc. owns the rest of the library.
1st Logo (September 20, 1957-June 26, 1959)
Nickname: "MGM Lion Statue"
Logo: On a dark (or gray) background, we see a brown (or drawn) statue of the MGM logo, as seen on movies from 1924-1983, sitting on a pedestal. There is a text seen over the statue saying "AN MGM-TV PRODUCTION" (or "AN MGM-TV PRESENTATION"). The name of the Executive Producer is seen below.
Music/Sounds: The closing theme of the show.
Availability: Extinct. Appeared only on the short-lived Northwest Passage and The Thin Man, but aside from the latter having aired on getTV, they're hardly seen on television again.
Scare Factor: None.
Nicknames: "Lion Wallpaper", "Red Lion Wallpaper", "Leo the Lion"
Logo: We see Leo, the infamous MGM lion, inside a black circle border, which reads "METRO-GOLDWYN-MAYER TELEVISION". The lion roars once. The background has wallpapered images of a lion's face (as a matter of fact, the same image used as the print logo of MGM Records until 1968).
Variants: These are the main are color variations of this logo:
- 1960-1962: Live-action backing. On National Velvet, the logo is placed on the background of the credits. Then the logo disappears in an iris out effect while the show's title (in quote marks) is appears in an iris in effect.
- 1962-May 16, 1966: Gray wallpaper backing (on black & white shows).
- 1965-1973: Red wallpaper backing.
- 1965-1973: Pink/Butter Yellow wallpaper backing.
- 1966: Brown wallpaper backing. Appeared only on Dr. Seuss' How The Grinch Stole Christmas.
FX/SFX: Leo roaring.
Cheesy Factor: Leo's head looks pasted onto another lion's body (even though it isn't); however, the B&W version only features the lion's face.
- 1960-1962?: A three note drum sound followed by dramatic fanfare played by a trumpet, synched to the animation of the lion roaring: the audio of the roar is replaced by a loud vibration of a muted trumpet as part of the fanfare. On National Velvet, this is followed by a 3-note loud trumpet theme when the show's title is wiped on-screen.
- The ending music to the show plays throughout on some series; on others there is silence while Leo is roaring.
Music/Sounds/Voice-over Variant: On a re-run of The Asphalt Jungle, a voice-over said: "The Asphalt Jungle, A Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Television Production".
Availability: Uncommon. It appeared on Dr. Kildare, The Man From U.N.C.L.E., The Courtship of Eddie's Father, Please Don't Eat the Daisies, and Medical Center, among others. Survives on the Dr. Seuss cartoon specials How the Grinch Stole Christmas! and Horton Hears a Who!, and was also seen on reruns of The Tom and Jerry Show on Boomerang during the 2000s. Most MGM TV series from this era are now owned by Warner Bros. Television (via parent company Time Warner's acquisition of Turner Entertainment Co.), so many current prints of these shows have the Turner Entertainment Globe and the Warner Bros. Television Shield following the MGM Television logo, while series not owned by Time Warner (such as the original Flipper) may have it replaced with the 2001 or MGM Domestic Television Distribution logos. This logo was last seen on The Man From U.N.C.L.E. on ALN (now "Youtoo America").
Scare Factor: Medium to high, depends on your opinion of the pause between fade-in and the lion's roar. Medium to nightmare for the dramatic theme. A lot of viewers can get easily startled if they're caught off guard.
3rd Logo (May 18, 1969)
Nicknames: "The Stylized Lion", "The Cold-Cream Jar" "MGM Coin" "The MGM Can"
Logo: A disc the size of a cold cream jar with the Stylized MGM lion's face on top and the words "MGM Television" on its side (more on that later) features in this logo. It began with this "jar" standing on its edge - the N in TELEVISION would be on the bottom - and we're looking at the Stylized Lion which is on the "lid". One roar is heard over the final strains of the special's closing theme, then this jar falls backwards and sideways simultaneously - quickly and fluidly - to reveal this legend on the side. Background drawing(s) or decoration was possible but unconfirmed. "MGM" is on its side as if rotated 90 degrees, and in the blocky font from the trademark on the record labels. "Television" was in a font that may be not unlike the Bobbi The Hippie font (also similar to the "mod" logo to the game show To Tell The Truth).
FX/SFX: The turning of the disc.
Music/Sounds: The closing theme of the show, with a single roar.
Availability: Extinct. It was seen on The Pogo Special Birthday Special, but video releases don't retain it.
Scare Factor: None.
4th Logo (1973-1991)
Nicknames: "Leo the Lion II", "White Ribboning"
Logo: It's the standard MGM logo, which has its origins starting in 1953. A live-action lion named Leo is in a circle of a ribbon-like filmstrip which flows out on the bottom sides in twos. Underneath the circle is a red drama mask. The circle has the phrase "ARS GRATIA ARTIS" (Latin for "Art for the Art's Sake") written on the top, and above it are the words "Metro Goldwyn Mayer." On the left side is "TRADE," and the right "MARK", and on the bottom is the word "TELEVISION". Leo roars once.
Variants: First here are the little differences in the logo, along with dates in which they were used:
- 1973-1979: A short version of movie logo of the era.
- 1979-1983: The word "TELEVISION" appears during this era. Almost similar to the 1960 MGM theatrical cartoon logo, which looks very tacked/chyroned on, and very unprofessional.
- 1983-1991: Referred to as "MGM/UA Entertainment Co. TELEVISION". Kids Incorporated used this one until 1991.
- May 10, 1986-April 20, 1987: Another short variant of the movie logo, with the word "TELEVISION" in white cheaply tacked in below.
FX/SFX: Leo roaring, as usual.
Music/Sounds: Just the Lion's roar.
Music/Sounds/Voice-over Variants: On 1970s reruns of Northwest Passage, the first two roars from the 1957 logo are used. Over the 2nd lion roar, a male voice-over says, "From the MGM Studios in Hollywood".
Availability: Uncommon. The earlier variant was seen intact on Shaft: The Series, Logan's Run and earlier episodes of CHiPs (1977). If the infamous Hanna-Barbera produced Tom and Jerry Show from 1975 is ever reran again, this logo might show up. This version also plastered over the previous logo on a reissue print of the Dr. Seuss cartoon special Horton Hears a Who! as featured on home video and Cartoon Network. When VH1 did a Fame marathon in 2001, all MGM logos were retained. The MGM/UA Entertainment Co. Television version is retained on Hello Kitty's Furry Tale Theater on Amazon Video on Demand, Hulu and VHS releases, The Dirty Dozen: The Next Mission on VHS and seasons 3 and 5 of Fame on nuvoTV. Currently seen on specific DVD releases such as the entire runs of CHiPS and The Man from U.N.C.L.E. The text with "TELEVISION" in white can be seen on most of the final season of Fame on nuvoTV.
Scare Factor: Low to medium. It's one of the best-known logos, but higher on the scary side for people who don't like roaring lions.
5th Logo (1982-2009, January 10, 2011-2012)
Nicknames: "Leo the Lion III", "Gold Ribboning"
Logo: Same as the 1970 logo, but this time, the ribboning is gold and Leo is in a golden color.
Variants: •1982-1983: A variation around this era exists of the logo where it is a still picture of the then-current MGM/UA Entertainment Co. corporate logo. Referred to as "(FROM) MGM/UA Entertainment Co. Television Distribution". •1984-1985: Company identified as MGM/UA Entertainment Co. Television. "DIAMOND JUBILEE (in an arc above the ribbon) SIXTY YEARS OF GREAT ENTERTAINMENT TELEVISION" (all in silver) is used in the 1984-85 season. •1986-1987: Another variation existed having the 1979 MGM Television logo all in gold. Used during the MGM Entertainment Co. era. •1987-1993: The company is identified as "MGM/UA Television Productions, An MGM/UA Communications Company". The ribboning is now gold from this point on. At least one episode of thirtysomething has a still version of the logo. •April 27, 1987-1993: The syndication division is now billed as MGM/UA Telecommunications. The words "Distributed by" appear above the logo and the MGM/UA byline appears below. •1991-2009: A short version of the movie design without anything below. Appears in either black & white or color in 1996. •1992: A version reads "MGM/UA" and no byline below. Seen on the final season of The Young Riders and several network made-for-TV movies. •1993-1996: The company is reverted back to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, along with the byline "MGM Worldwide Television Group" or "MGM/UA Telecommunications Group" underneath the logo. For In the Heat of the Night, there is a byline that says ""In The Heat Of The Night" Property Of United Artists". •1996-2005: The syndication division is referred to as "MGM Domestic Television Distribution", along with the 1995 lion roar track (finally). Global arm referred to as "MGM Worldwide Television Group". In 2002, the widescreen version of MGM DTD begins. •1996-2009: The logo was shifted up some for television distribution without anything underneath the logo. Appears in either black & white or color. •1997-2004: Network arm referred to as "MGM Television Entertainment". •1999-2009: Referred to as "MGM International Television Distribution" for global distribution. •2001-2009: A short version of the current movie logo with the URL, "www.mgm.com" below the logo using only part one of the lion roar. •2005-2009, January 10, 2011-2012: Referred to as "MGM Worldwide Television Distribution" for US.
FX/SFX: Leo roaring, as usual.
Music/Sounds: There are different sound bites of the lion's roar: •1982-1996: The last lion roar from the 1957-1982 lion roar. •1982-1983: The MGM/UA Entertainment Co. Television Distribution logo either had the show's closing music (such as on the cartoon series Pandamonium and Meatballs and Spaghetti), or the 1982 United Artists Television logo theme followed by the last roar sound bite from 1957-1982. •1991-1992, 1996-2009, January 10, 2011-2012: The first lion roar sound from the 1982 or 1995 lion roar. •1991-1999: The last lion roar sound from the 1985 lion roar or the 1957 lion roar. •A long version exists on cable broadcasts of Holiday Heart, Rocky V, The Terminator, and At Close Range. MGM Domestic Television Distribution only. •There is also a silent version on Soul Plane. MGM Domestic Television Distribution only. •Half of Leo's first roar is used for the warped version. •On the freeze variant found on thirtysomething, a shortened version of the 1957 roar is used.
Availability: Common for MGM Domestic, Worldwide, International Television Distribution and with and without the MGM URL and they can be found on then-current shows like the 2008 revival of American Gladiators on NBC, the short-lived Spaceballs: The Animated Series on G4, and syndicated shows like Stargate: SG-1, Stargate Atlantis, The Outer Limits, Reno 911!, and Chapelle's Show, among others. Extremely rare for MGM/UA Telecommunications and it's seen on season 3 of the 1985 version of The Twilight Zone on Syfy, Chiller, and local syndication. Rare for MGM Worldwide Television Group and it's found on the final season of In the Heat of the Night on WGN America. Also global wise on all MGM and NBC series. The MGM/UA Television Productions variation is extremely rare and was recently seen on Moving Target on Encore Mystery and Netflix, season 6 of In the Heat of the Night on WGN America, and appears on MPI Home Video tapes of Dark Shadows (1991). The 1986 logo is extinct and was seen on Kids Incorporated and the MGM/UA Entertainment Co. Television Distribution logos are also extinct. The version with just the "MGM/UA" text can be found on Fatal Memories on Hulu and The Young Riders on Starz Encore Westerns. The warped version of the 2001 logo is very rare and made its only known appearance on Chiller's print of the pilot of Dark Shadows (1991). The long version of MGM Domestic Television Distribution is on the beginning of cable broadcasts of Rocky V and a VHS print of Holiday Heart. Most of these logos can also be seen on ThisTV. The logo is also seen on First Business and off-net reruns of Cash Cab. The Diamond Jubilee Television variant is rare and can be seen on the 1984-1985 season of Fame on Ovation TV. On Fame on Hulu, the older logos are replaced with the 1996 logo. The Domestic version was seen as an opening logo on the movie Body & Soul on Hulu. Also last seen at the end of the closing credits on pre-national Me-TV reruns of Cagney & Lacey plastering both the Filmways logo (Season 1) and the Orion Television logo (Season 2-onward), although a few episodes retain the latter logo, followed by this logo.
Scare Factor: Same as the last logo.
6th Logo (2009-2012)
Nicknames: "Leo the Lion IV", "Metallic Ribboning"
Logo: It's only the short version of the 2008 closing theatrical logo, reading below has, "MGM Worldwide Television Distribution" for United States, "MGM International Television Distribution" for global distribution, the MGM website, or none, just like the last logo except the company name below the logo is in a different font. Again, Leo roars once.
Later Variant: Starting in 2010, it's the November 2008 MGM logo with the name "MGM WORLDWIDE TELEVISION DISTRIBUTION" in all capital letters.
FX/SFX: Leo roaring.
Music/Sounds: The same first half of the 1995 lion roar or the 2008 roar. First season episodes of Teen Wolf (2011) have the first half of the first roar of the 1995 roar track.
Availability: Common. It was first seen on First Business, before they apparently reverted back to the previous logo soon after. Can also be seen at the end of several classic new prints of MGM movies on local networks and cable broadcasts, especially seen on classic 007 movies (mainly the Roger Moore era) that were aired on Sleuth, WGN America, USA, and G4, among other networks, several Rocky films on the Encore networks, as well on international prints of non-MGM shows and movies (such as those copyrighted by NBC Studios for Universal Television). Don't expect to see this logo at the end of Stargate Universe on Syfy, it does appear however appear on local TV and Netflix airings. Also seen on The Pink Panther and Pals on Boomerang and Teen Wolf on MTV. It's also seen on reruns of In the Heat of the Night on WGN America while the credits are compressed on the right.
Scare Factor: Same as the last logo.
7th Logo (November 19, 2012- )
Nicknames: "Leo the Lion V", "Zooming Ribboning", "Metallic Ribboning II", "MGM 2012", "Animated Ribbon"
Logo: We start with the MGM logo fully revealed and zooming out, but with the words "MGM TELEVISION" in Trajan Pro, zooming out below along with the logo. The whole animation zooms out fast. Sometimes the words below are exempt.
FX/SFX: The logo and words zooming out, Leo roaring.
Music/Sounds: The same first half of the 1995 lion roar.
Availability: Common. First seen on Spike's print of Red Dawn. Also seen on broadcast TV airings on some episodes of Cash Cab and films part of the Showcase Theater package, which consists of select MGM, Lionsgate, and Miramax movies, such as A Christmas Too Many, The Eye, and some James Bond movies, among others. This can also be found on Vikings on The History Channel and Fargo on FX. The version without the words below can be seen (as of June 2013) on RightThisMinute.
Scare Factor: Low. The roar and fast zooming might surprise you the first time you see it, but it's mostly harmless.