Returning TV Series to Receive $90 Million in Next Round of California Credits

Returning TV series will receive the lion’s share of allocations — $90 million of the $100 million available — in the next round of the California film and TV tax credit program before the commission launches its expanded program.

California Film Commission director Amy Lemisch made the disclosure Thursday at a presentation at the American Film Commissioners International Locations Show at the Century Plaza with program director Nancy Stone. Several hundred attended the event, dubbed California’s Film & TV Tax Credit Program 2.0.

The seemingly massive allocation for returning series for 2015-16 was not a surprise, given that more than $77 million of the $100 million available for 2014-15 was allocated to a dozen series, led by $11.5 million for “Teen Wolf,” “Rizzoli & Isles” with $8.9 million, “Pretty Little Liars” with $8.4 million and “Major Crimes” with $7.9 million.

A lottery determined the other recipients for the remaining $23 million — the same process to be used for the  remaining $10 million of the $100 million will allocated in an April lottery to independent projects with budgets of less than $10 million. No studio features are eligible for the final lottery, only independent projects.

The expanded program, with $230 million in credits left for the 2015-16 fiscal year, is aimed at keeping film and TV in California.

“I think the expanded program is going to be a real shot in the arm for production in the state,” said Steve Dayan, commission chairman, following the meeting. “There may be some uncertainty at first as to how it will work but that won’t last for long.”

The commission will replace the lottery with a new jobs ratio program in May. The application period for $55 million in TV projects and $28 million in relocating TV series will be May 11-17, while the application period for other categories will be some time in the summer.

Lemisch and Stone also said they are expecting approval by early April of the draft regulations that will govern how the $330 million in annual tax credits will be disbursed. The regulations are before the state Office of Administrative Law for final approval.

The duo also disclosed several other nuances of the program, such as the requirement that any project allocated credits must include the film commission logo in the closing credits.

Lemisch and Stone sought Thursday to allay concerns that the jobs ratio would eliminate all but the largest projects — noting that the number will be determined by whichever projects can deliver the most jobs per dollar allocated.

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