After David Letterman announced his plans to retire, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti on Thursday fired off a letter to CBS’s Les Moonves, urging him to locate his successor’s show in Los Angeles.
“As a longtime fan, I was saddened to hear of David Letterman’s retirement. But as Mayor of Los Angeles, I am excited for the opportunity to encourage you to bring CBS’ next late night show to our city — the entertainment capital of the world,” Garcetti wrote.
“I have made the entertainment industry a key priority for my administration. It’s a critical component to our city’s economy and identity,” he added. “I created the Mayor’s Office of Motion Picture and Television Production, and under the leadership of Ken Ziffren, we are aggressively seeking to encourage more production here in Los Angeles by cutting red tape, lending proactive assistance, and by furthering public policy to compete with the financial incentives offered by other states.”
The Los Angeles region lost “The Tonight Show” after Jay Leno’s replacement, Jimmy Fallon, decided to relocate the show from Burbank to New York after 40 years in Southern California.
In 2013, as NBC was mulling a successor to Leno, New York Gov, Andrew Cuomo inserted language into his state budget that seemed tailor to win back “The Tonight Show.” The 30% credit was for a show that shoots in front of a studio audience of at least 200 people, had filmed at least five years elsewhere, and had at least $30 million in production costs.
Whether California can match that is another question. The state’s current tax incentives do not apply to studio audience shows like “Late Show,” and proposed legislation to expand the program does not include any such provisions, either, although it does extend the credit to all one-hour dramas and mega-budgeted movies. And such an expansion would not start until 2017. Letterman is expected to exit some time next year.
Some other kind of legislative proposal could be pursued in Sacramento, of course, but another lure could be to make the case that with “The Tonight Show” gone, any new entrant could have better access to stars and others who call L.A. home.