Tuesday, March 17, 2009

TV No Longer California Dreaming



My colleague Cynthia Littleton spells out the migration of this year's primetime TV pilots to locales beyond California. Of the 39 hour-long pilots and presentations in the works at the nets, at least 20 aren't being shot here. Ouch.

Writes Cynthia:

This year, Providence, R.I.; Baltimore; Boston; Atlanta; Chicago; Richmond, Va.; and Pittsburgh are among the unusual locales where broadcast net pilots are being produced, and all are in states that offer production tax-incentive carrots. Twentieth Century Fox TV has traveled as far as Prague for its "Da Vinci Code"-esque thriller "Masterwork" for Fox, though that decision was made as much for storyline purposes as anything else.

New York has lured a lot of TV production out of Los Angeles County over the past few years with its rich tax-incentive program, but the much-publicized uncertainty about the future of those credits for new productions, amid the state's $14 billion budget deficit, sent studios shopping for lures in the other 48 states.

What about the recently passed $500 million, five-year production tax credit incentive program here? As Cynthia notes, "that program is seen by many in the TV biz as too little too late, and with too many strings attached."

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