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Penny Dreadful gets highest California incentive

Penny Dreadful

Period drama Penny Dreadful has been awarded the highest TV filming incentive yet awarded to shoot its new series in Los Angeles, under the state's '2.0' programme.

As the name suggests, Penny Dreadful: City of Angels is set in Los Angeles, but with a pre-war 1938 setting. 

Made for Showtime and Sky, the show has been conditionally approved for filming incentive support worth nearly $25m. 

The figure is higher than the tax credits awarded to superhero film Captain Marvel, which was among the biggest movies to shoot in California last year.

California production spending on Penny Dreadful that qualifies for incentive support is set to reach almost $100m, with overall state spending on the series set to be significantly higher. Producers will be hiring 150 crew, 350 cast and 10,000 extras.

Created by screenwriter and producer John Logan, the show previously filmed three seasons from a base at Ardmore Studios near Dublin and doubled the region for story settings in Victorian London.

Based on 'penny dreadful' publications popular in Britain in the 19th century, Logan's first three series focused on characters from Gothic fiction including Dorian Gray and Dr Victor Frankenstein.  

“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 co-president of entertainment at 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.”

California’s filming incentive support programme prioritises TV and is also designed to attract shows that have filmed previous seasons outside the state.

High-profile relocating series have included political satire Veep, relationship drama The Affair and Dwayne Johnson’s Ballers, set against the backdrop of America’s National Football League. 

Location filming in California increased by 5% overall in the fourth quarter of last year, but the majority of productions do not secure filming incentive support.

See KFTV's production guide for more on filming in California.