Los Angeles-Based TV Pilot Production Slides 14% to Seven-Year Low

Television pilots shot in Los Angeles during the 2016-17 development cycle declined by 14% to 68 shows — a seven-year low — according to an annual survey by the film-permitting agency FilmL.A.

FilmL.A. president Paul Audley told Variety that the decline is due to the changing dynamics of the TV industry, with the streaming services Netflix and Amazon providing more programming that results in a lessening of the overall volume of pilot production.

“Despite this year’s smaller crop of pilots, Los Angeles’ television industry is robust,” Audley said. “With so many projects under way, California is home to more scripted series than its top five competitors combined.”

FilmL.A reported on Wednesday that an overall total of 173 broadcast, cable, and digital pilots (109 dramas, 64 comedies) were produced during the 2016-17 development cycle, while the previous three cycles saw 201, 202, and 203 pilots in each season. Of those 173 pilots, a total of 68 projects (22 dramas, 46 comedies) were filmed in the Los Angeles region, down from 79 in 2015-16, 91 in 2014-15, and 90 in 2013-14.

Pilots shot in Los Angeles for the most recent season include “A.P. Bio,” “Alone Together,” “Amy’s Brother,” “Atypical,” “Brothered Up,” “Brown Girls,” “Champions,” “College-ish,” “Disjointed,” “Distefano,” “Forever Boys,” Charlie Foxtrot,” “For the People,” “American Woman,” “Behind Enemy Lines,” “Counterpart,” “Good Girls,” “Hannah Royce’s Questionable Choices,” “Heathers,” “Here Now,” “Law & Order True Crime: The Menendez Murders,” “Marvel’s Runaways,” “Mayans MC,” “The Orville,” “Rebel,” “S.W.A.T.,” “Sharp Objects,” “Ten Days in the Valley,” “Too Old to Die Young,” “Unit Zero,” “Unsolved: The Murders of Tupac and the Notorious B.I.G.,” “Untitled Kourtney Kang,” and “Get Shorty.”

Courtesy of Film LA

FilmL.A. estimated on Wednesday that the 68 L.A.-based pilot projects yielded $303 million in production spending. It also said that the share of overall pilot production by project count remained unchanged for Greater Los Angeles at 39%. Los Angeles saw 79 pilots shot in the region in 2015-16, compared with 24 in New York, 21 in Vancouver/British Columbia, 12 in Atlanta/Georgia, and nine in Toronto/Ontario.

The report also noted that the overall industry saw a total of 65 network, cable, and digital shows ordered straight-to-series in the 2016-17 cycle, including 29 in cable, 27 in digital networks, and nine in broadcast networks.

“When it comes to television, L.A. production has never been stronger,” said Los Angeles County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl. “This report demonstrates that L.A. is still the place to shoot, whether you’re producing pilots or series. And as a former actress, I am well aware of how many jobs each and every one of those episodes generates.”

Courtesy of Film LA

FilmL.A. also reported 173 series currently in production in California, out of a total of 426. That includes 62 L.A.-based drama series, 30 of which received the California Film & Television Tax Credit, which was expanded two years ago. The agency estimated that California-based incentivized series will spend an estimated $1.72 billion during the present season.

“If you grew up in Detroit, someone on your block worked for a car manufacturer or owned a business where autoworkers spent their paychecks. Here in L.A., the same goes for our entertainment industry — it’s the bedrock of our middle class,” noted Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti.

Courtesy of Film LA

“Today’s report further demonstrates the importance of our California Film and Television Tax Credit, which is keeping production where it belongs — in Los Angeles — and making our city home to more scripted television than its top competitors combined,” he said. “We’re hearing a lot of good news from the entertainment industry, but we have to keep investing in our middle class — and that means restoring our market share of pilot production.”

Garcetti told the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce on July 20 that he will push for an increase in California’s production tax incentives to at least $500 million annually — up more than 50% from the current $330 million figure. The current program runs out after the 2019-2020 fiscal year.

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