L.A. TV pi­lot work at 7-year low

De­spite the drop, the re­gion re­tains its share of over­all shoots.

Los Angeles Times - - BUSINESS BEAT - By David Ng david.ng@la­times.com Twit­ter: @DavidNgLAT

Tele­vi­sion pi­lot pro­duc­tion in Los An­ge­les dropped to its low­est level in seven years, but the re­gion man­aged to hold on to its por­tion of over­all pi­lot shoots, ac­cord­ing to a new re­port from FilmLA.

Na­tion­wide, 173 TV pilots were pro­duced dur­ing the 12-month pe­riod that ended June 1, down nearly 14% from the pre­vi­ous year, ac­cord­ing to FilmL.A., the or­ga­ni­za­tion that over­sees film and TV per­mit­ting through­out the L.A. re­gion.

Of those, 68 pilots — or about 39% — were pro­duced on stages and lo­ca­tions in the L.A. area, the same per­cent­age as the pre­vi­ous year.

But that share rep­re­sents a 10-year low for pi­lot pro­duc­tion in L.A., as pro­duc­ers con­tinue to choose other cities, es­pe­cially New York and Van­cou­ver, Canada.

The to­tals in­clude pilots made for broad­cast and ca­ble TV, as well as for dig­i­tal stream­ing ser­vices such as Net­flix, Ama­zon and Hulu. Pilots are the first episodes of po­ten­tial TV se­ries.

Re­cent pilots to shoot in the L.A. area in­clude the up­com­ing “L.A. to Ve­gas” on Fox; “Ru­n­aways,” a Mar­vel Comics-in­spired se­ries com­ing to Hulu; and CBS’ up­com­ing “Young Shel­don,” a spinoff from “The Big Bang The­ory.”

An es­ti­mated $303 mil­lion was spent on pi­lot pro­duc­tion in L.A. for the year, ac­cord­ing to the re­port. That was a slight in­crease from the es­ti­mated $297 mil­lion spent the pre­vi­ous year, de­spite 11 fewer pilots be­ing filmed in the area.

FilmLA said the in­crease in spend­ing was the re­sult in ris­ing costs as­so­ci­ated with pro­duc­tion.

The drop in over­all pi­lot shoots was partly the re­sult of a large num­ber of re­newals of ex­ist­ing se­ries.

In ad­di­tion, an in­creas­ing num­ber of shows are be­ing or­dered straight-to-se­ries, es­pe­cially at Net­flix. FilmLA said a to­tal of 65 shows were or­dered straight-to-se­ries dur­ing 2016-17, up from 57 last year.

L.A. con­tin­ues to hold the largest share of the pi­lot-pro­duc­tion mar­ket, with New York com­ing in sec­ond place for the year with 24 pilots. The province of Bri­tish Columbia, which in­cludes Van­cou­ver, came in third with 21 pilots.

But in the last 10 years, L.A. has seen its por­tion of pi­lot shoots steadily erode. The re­gion ac­counted for 82% of all pilots pro­duced dur­ing the 2006-07 pe­riod. FilmLA lead­ers ex­pect to see the cur­rent level of 39% hold rel­a­tively sta­ble in the near term.

“We’ll con­tinue to see the num­bers we see now,” FilmLA Pres­i­dent Paul Aud­ley said in an in­ter­view. “We’re in a play­ing field that is static.”

Robert Voets As­so­ci­ated Press

SIXTY-EIGHT pilots were shot in the L.A. area dur­ing the 12-month pe­riod that ended June 1. Re­cent ones in­clude “Big Bang The­ory” spinoff “Young Shel­don.”

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