Tax cred­its en­tice four shows to state

Los Angeles Times - - COMPANY TOWN - By Richard Ver­rier richard.ver­rier @la­times.com

Tak­ing a step to win back pro­duc­tion that has f led Hol­ly­wood, Cal­i­for­nia has lured four TV shows from other states, in­clud­ing “Amer­i­can Hor­ror Story” and “Veep,” the HBO po­lit­i­cal com­edy star­ring Ju­lia Louis-Drey­fus.

The four shows were among nearly a dozen TV projects se­lected to re­ceive tax cred­its un­der the state’s newly ex­panded in­cen­tives pro­gram, the Cal­i­for­nia Film Com­mis­sion said Tues­day.

The re­lo­cat­ing shows, which are ex­pected to film pri­mar­ily in South­ern Cal­i­for­nia, pro­vide a wel­come re­prieve to Los An­ge­les. The re­gion has sus­tained a sharp falloff in the num­ber of TV dra­mas shoot­ing lo­cally.

Cal­i­for­nia law­mak­ers last year ex­panded the state’s film and TV tax credit pro­gram, which al­lows film­mak­ers to shave as much as 25% off qual­i­fied pro­duc­tion ex­penses, such as salaries of crew mem­bers.

The mea­sure triples an­nual fund­ing for the pro­gram to $330 mil­lion and al­lows more projects to qual­ify, in­clud­ing new se­ries for net­works, pre­mium ca­ble out­lets and In­ter­net dis­tri­bu­tion, as well as pi­lots.

The four for­merly out-of­s­tate TV shows will divvy up $27.6 mil­lion specif­i­cally set aside for pro­duc­tions mov­ing to Cal­i­for­nia. An ad­di­tional $55.2 mil­lion in cred­its was made avail­able for new TV se­ries, minis­eries, movies of the week and pi­lots.

“Veep” filmed in Mary­land and was ten­ta­tively ap­proved for an es­ti­mated tax credit of $6.5 mil­lion, while “Amer­i­can Hor­ror Story” filmed in Louisiana and was ap­proved for an es­ti­mated $9 mil­lion credit, ac­cord­ing to records from the Cal­i­for­nia Film Com­mis­sion.

Ryan Mur­phy’s hit hor­ror an­thol­ogy se­ries is ex­pected to begin shoot­ing its fifth sea­son, “Ho­tel,” in early July. “Amer­i­can Hor­ror Story” shot its first two sea­sons in L.A. but moved to Louisiana af­ter it was un­suc­cess­ful in se­cur­ing a film tax credit through Cal­i­for­nia’s con­tro­ver­sial lot­tery sys­tem.

The other two TV shows mov­ing to Cal­i­for­nia are VH1’s “Hind­sight,” which for­merly shot in At­lanta, and ABC’s “Se­crets and Lies,” which had been shoot­ing in North Carolina. That state re­cently ended its film tax credit pro­gram. The es­ti­mated tax credit for “Hind­sight” was $3.9 mil­lion, and the credit for “Se­crets and Lies” was $5.7 mil­lion.

Six new TV se­ries that re­ceived cred­its in­clude two new HBO se­ries, “Utopia Sea­son” and “West­world,” which were ap­proved for the largest tax credit amounts at $19.6 mil­lion and $12 mil­lion, re­spec­tively; “Crazy Ex Girl­friend” from CBS; ABC’s “Code Black”; and “Rose­wood,” a med­i­cal drama from Fox. Es­ti­mated tax cred­its for those shows were in the $4.9 mil­lion to $6.4 mil­lion range, records show.

Los An­ge­les Mayor Eric Garcetti seized on the an­nounce­ment of the new shows as proof that the new pro­gram, for which he lob­bied hard, is work­ing.

Whether the new pro­gram suc­ceeds in bring­ing back large fea­ture films to Cal­i­for­nia re­mains to be seen. The ap­pli­ca­tion pe­riod for fea­tures is sched­uled for July 13-25.

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