Los Angeles Set to Waive Fees for TV Pilots

Eric Garcetti Runaway Hollywood
Photograph by Art Streiber for Variety

The Los Angeles City Council on Tuesday passed an ordinance that will waive fees on TV pilots, in hopes of recapturing a greater share of production of one-hour drama series that depend heavily on location filming.

A spokesman for Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said that he would sign the measure, which is no surprise given that he introduced it along with Councilman Paul Krekorian last year. Their proposal also waived fees for the first year of pilots that are picked up for series.

Garcetti has said that the fee waiver and other steps are necessary to smooth production headaches, even if the production incentives offered by the state are a much greater enticement. Earlier this year City Administrative Officer Miguel Santana, expressing doubts that the fee waiver would be the determining factor in whether a pilot shot in the city, estimated that the impact on the city’s general fund would be a minimum of $231,000 and an unknown larger amount for the first year of production.

At the council meeting, Krekorian said that “what we can do right here in Los Angeles today is pass this ordinance, send a signal to the television production industry that we want these jobs here, we want production here and we’re going to fight to make sure that market share goes from 50%, to where it should be.”

According to FilmLA, 96 of 186 pilots were filmed in the Los Angeles region in the 2012-13 season, by one measure the second largest tally in the area’s history. But the org said that Los Angeles is losing market share when it comes to the growth of drama series production, which has been shooting elsewhere.

The City Council in February approved a resolution to waive the fees, but it required the city attorney to craft language for an ordinance.

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