L.A. City Council Votes to Scrap TV Pilot Fees

Mayoral candidate Eric Garcetti spearheaded the legislation to stem the exodus of pilot production from Los Angeles

The Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously on Tuesday to waive fees for television pilots in hopes of stemming the exodus of productions from the city.

Councilman Eric Garcetti, a mayoral candidate who spearheaded the measure, said the number of TV pilots shot in Los Angeles had fallen drastically in recent years, from 60 percent of all pilots in 2007 to only 29 percent last year.

"My plan is that if you film a pilot in Los Angeles, you will not get a bill from the city," Garcetti said at a press conference at Sunset Gower Studios in Hollywood after the council's 11-0 vote. (four council members were absent).  "This strategic incentive for TV pilots increases our chances of landing the television series that follows."

While Los Angeles is facing a projected $327 million budget shortfall — making debt reduction a key issue of this mayoral election —  the city gained only about $231,000 in fees from TV pilot production in the 2011-2012 fiscal year.

Garcetti said the waiver will bring more industry jobs back to the city, adding that a pilot shot in Los Angeles may encourage the whole series to remain in the city.

The legislation will now go to Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa for approval, an assistant in City Council President Herb Wesson's office told TheWrap. It remains unclear when the law would take effect.

Tax incentives have lured Hollywood productions away from Los Angeles for years, as Massachusetts, Louisiana and other states have increased their incentives to filmmakers and television producers.