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Scripted TV Production Jumps in LA

California’s expanded tax credit plan boosts television projects to offset drop in feature filming, FilmLA reports

The positive impact of California’s newly beefed up tax credit plan came into sharp focus Tuesday, as FilmLA reported on-location TV, movie and commercials filming in the region rose 3.8 percent in the third quarter.

The primary driver was scripted TV production, which was up a whopping 55 percent over last year. The overall gain came despite a more than 20 percent drop in the filming of reality TV — still the region’s largest TV production segment — from July through September, and an 11 percent dip in feature film shoots.

The quarter was up overall because TV drama production rose almost 24 percent, sitcom production increased 168 percent and digital and web-based TV shoots, like Netflix’s “Sense8” (photo top), rose more than 25 percent over last year’s comparable quarter. TV pilot production also increased more than 31 percent. That all added up to a nearly 12 percent gain in overall TV location filming.

The California Film & Television Tax Credit program will dole out $330 million this year, up from the $100 million it handed out annually under the previous plan. The extra funding allowed network series to qualify for the first time since the plan’s 2009 inception, and it was the newly-eligible projects that made the difference.

“Almost all of the increases are from incentivized TV, so it’s clear the program is having a seriously positive impact on jobs and spending in the area,” FilmLA President Paul Audley told TheWrap Tuesday.

tax credit tuesdayProjects receiving tax credits made up nearly 21 percent of the TV drama shoots, more than eight percent of the sitcoms and 34 percent of the pilot filming days.

Among the TV drama series shooting in and around L.A. County during the third quarter were “Westworld,” “Code Black,” American Horror Story: Hotel,” “Secrets and Lies” and “Wicked City.”

The tax credit funding for TV was assigned in June, and the feature film credits were allocated in August.

“I would expect we’ll see similar gains toward the end of this year and early next on the feature film side,” said Audley.

Commercial production, the second-largest segment of the region’s overall production sector behind TV, grew by 11 percent.

More details on the third quarter location shoot production numbers can be found at the FilmLA web site.