Prod’n continues despite uncertainty

Overall activity for the week totals 176 permits

Amid uncertainty over when SAG’s contract stalemate will be resolved, offlot production of features in Hollywood has remained healthy.

Permitting agency FilmL.A. reported Thursday that overall activity for the past week had totaled 176 permits — off 2% from the same week in 2007.

Features nearly doubled to 17 permits from nine a year ago while TV dramas jumped 32% to 25 and reality shows soared 54% to 20. There were four sitcom permits, up from three.

Studio feature production has mostly stopped this month, with the majors opting to avoid risk and not start up new pics until the SAG situation’s resolved. Feature production hasn’t disappeared entirely since SAG, which isn’t expected to ask for a strike authorization from members, has granted over 500 waivers to indie features.

The majors have been forging ahead on TV production with the intent of banking as many segments as possible for the 2008-09 season.

FilmL.A. reported last week that second-quarter off-lot production rose 26% from the same period in 2007 — making it the busiest ever overall for on-location production in Los Angeles — and cited the aftermath of the 100-day WGA strike combined with stockpiling due to the uncertainty surrounding the SAG negotiations.

TV dramas increased 85% to 2,193 days, while reality rose 72% to 4,267, pilots were up 24% to 380 days and sitcoms gained 7% to 544. Feature film production increased 9% to 2,746 days — the most active quarterly performance since the second quarter of 2001, when the figure hit 3,613 days amid worries over potential SAG and WGA strikes.

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