California tax credit draws more TV series back to LA

Nicole Kidman’s Nine Perfect Strangers among projects selected for the credit

By Chris Evans 17 Dec 2019

California tax credit draws more TV series back to LA

California has bagged two more relocating TV series from other states and will serve as home to four new series thanks to its popular film & TV tax credit program 2.0.

The California Film Commission has announced that the Universal Television series Dream will relocate to California from Texas, while Horizon Scripted Television’s Special will relocate from New Jersey - both for their second season of production. With the latest round of tax credits, California has lured a total of 18 relocating TV series from other states and nations.

“When already successful TV series relocate to California, they bring long-term jobs and significant in-state spending,” said California Film Commission Executive Director Colleen Bell. “The decision by so many projects to pack up and move production here affirms that our tax credit program is working and that California can still provide unsurpassed value.”

The four new TV series to receive tax credits are an untitled Showtime Lakers Project from HBO, The Dropout (Searchlight TV), Grease (Paramount), and Nine Perfect Strangers (Endeavor Content). In addition, the latest round of credits includes 10 recurring TV series already in Program 2.0 and picked up for another season of in-state production.

“Adam [McKay] and I are thrilled to be able to participate in the California Film Commission tax credit program for our HBO series about the Los Angeles Lakers,” said Kevin Messick, producer of Untitled Showtime Lakers Project. “We couldn’t imagine filming this show anywhere else and we’re happy that HBO has the additional support from the state to help ensure this show stays local.”

A total of $152m in tax credits is reserved for the 16 relocating, new and recurring projects. According to the commission, they are on track to generate an estimated $782m in qualified spending, which is defined as below-the-line wages to California workers and payments to in-state vendors. The 16 projects will employ an estimated 2,900 cast members, 3,500 crew and 62,000 extras/stand-ins over a combined 1,450 in-state shoot days for the season.

Applications for the latest round of TV tax credits were accepted November 4 – 8, 2019. To date, a total of 142 television projects, including new TV series, recurring, relocating TV series, pilots, MOWs and miniseries have been accepted into Program 2.0 since it was launched in July 2015. 

This latest announcement follows a series of California tax credit allocations last month, including $17.5m to Damien Chazelle’s period drama Babylon.

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