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‘Penny Dreadful’ Moves to California, Set for $24.7 Million Tax Credit

Showtime’s “Penny Dreadful: City of Angels” has become the 16th television series to relocate to California and has been allocated $24.7 million in tax credits.

The California Film Commission made the announcement Monday that the drama-horror series will move production from Dublin to Los Angeles for its fourth season. “Penny Dreadful: City of Angels” will employ more than 350 cast members, 150 crew and 10,000 extras (including stand-ins) and spend an estimated $99 million on below-the-line wages and other qualified expenditures during the upcoming season.

“With its established track record and top of the line production value, a relocating series like ‘Penny Dreadful’ brings long-term jobs and significant in-state spending,” said California Film Commission executive director Amy Lemisch. “Global competition and increasing reliance on VFX make it possible for projects set almost anywhere to film wherever they get the best value. We’re delighted that California crews and service providers will benefit directly from this project, which is set in our own backyard.”

The new season takes place in 1938 Los Angeles is described as the spiritual descendent of prior seasons set in Victorian-era London. Other production locales were considered.

“Choosing where to set up production for the next chapter of the ‘Penny Dreadful’ fable was one of the most important decisions we had to make, and there were many options we looked into,” said Jana Winograde, president of entertainment for Showtime. “Shooting in California obviously has many attractions, but without the state’s Film and TV tax credit it could become cost prohibitive. We couldn’t be happier about how things worked out or the benefits it will bring to the job market.”

The film commission noted that California’s expanded Film & TV Tax Credit Program 2.0 has attracted relocating TV series from seven U.S. states plus Canada and Ireland, adding that the projects are on track to generate nearly $1 billion in in-state spending, including $553 million in wages to below-the-line workers.

The commission announced in July that NBC’s sitcom “Good Girls” and Horizon Scripted Television’s “You” were relocating to California for their upcoming seasons. Other series that have relocated to the Golden State, thanks to the incentive, include Amazon’s “Sneaky Pete,” FX’s “Legion,” and HBO’s “Ballers” and “Veep.”

The latest TV application period was held Feb. 4-8 and open only to relocating series and recurring series already accepted into the Program 2.0. In addition to the relocating “Penny Dreadful: City of Angels” series, the tax credit program currently has 29 recurring TV series in various stages of production including “American Crime Story,” “American Horror Story,” “Good Girls,” “Mayans M.C.,” “Orville,” “This Is Us” and “Westworld.”

The commission reported on Nov. 2 that California’s expanded production tax incentive program has resulted in nearly $6 billion in in-state spending over the past three years, generated from $815 million in tax credits. California’s credit covers up to 25% of in-state production costs, which is not as lucrative as other locations, but is aimed at putting the brakes on runaway production and luring projects to the Golden State.

In July, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed an extension of California’s production tax credit program for five years beyond its 2020 expiration with $1.6 billion in credits. The program was more than tripled in size in 2014 to $330 million annually to compete effectively with incentives in New York and Georgia. The program is overseen by the state’s film commission, which selects the TV and movie projects to qualify partly based on the number of jobs created.

Feature films covered under the program include Disney’s “Captain Marvel,” Paramount’s “Transformers” spinoff “Bumblebee” and Warner Bros. “Space Jam 2,” starring LeBron James and Bugs Bunny.

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