California TV Production Down, Commercials and Film Shoots Up During Second Quarter

July 21, 2018

California hopes to lure television and film production back to the state with last month’s extension of the California Film and Television Tax Credit  Program 2.0. But, according to production coordinator FilmL.A., 2018’s second quarter saw a 5.2 percent drop in Greater Los Angeles on-location filming as compared to the same time last year. However, commercial shoots increased, and the tax incentives, which have been extended through 2025, are credited with drawing several productions to the state. Here are some details on the matter.


Taking the largest hit, Los Angeles television shooting saw a dramatic decline of 15.1 percent. The greatest loss suffered was on-location reality TV production which plummeted over 30 percent from the previous year. Specifically, while 2017 totaled 1,285 reality TV shoot days, 2018 pulled in only 879. Shoot days for web-based series fell 14.6 percent; television dramas dropped 9 percent; and pilots maintained their 2017 levels.

But there was some good news. For example, comedies surged by 23 percent. And commercials rose by 14.2 percent in the second quarter to 1,596 shooting days. This indicates a 16.8 percent increase in the five-year commercial average. But it should be noted, the tax incentives do not apply to commercial productions. Actors who are interested in the tax relief being extended to commercials can reach out to the governor here

When looking at the numbers, it’s apparent that the incentives are enticing television productions to California; 28 percent of the dramas produced during the second quarter, 17.4 percent of the comedies, and 7.2 percent of TV pilots were lured by the tax credit. Series that filmed during the second quarter included Mayans M.C., I’m Dying Up Here, Ballers, Animal Kingdom, Strange Angel, S.W.A.T., and Snowfall. And 15 series relocated to the Golden State earlier this month to benefit from the credits. Lifetime’s You left New York, enticed by the $6.1 million worth of credits. Similarly, NBC’s Good Girls moved from Georgia as the production is expected to receive about $9.3 million in credits.

“We’re excited to bring ‘Good Girls’ to California and employ hundreds of California workers on an important series for NBC and Universal Television,” Jerry DiCanio, EVP of production operations for Universal Television said. “We look forward to many years of continued success in California and are grateful to the Governor, state legislature, and California Film Commission for making this possible.”

HBO’s Emmy Award-winning Veep is relocating from Maryland to California. “After four years and a long deliberation, we have decided to move the production of ‘Veep’ to Los Angeles,” HBO released in a statement. The tug-of-war between the states can’t be underestimated. Veep was drawn to Maryland by $6.5 million worth of credits, but California is offering more. It’s reported that Veep utilized approximately 1,000 businesses per season in Maryland.

FX’s Legion is relocating from Vancouver, and the Netflix series The OA will relocate from New York. No reality TV programs took advantage of the credit.

Feature Films

The tax credit has been luring feature film productions to shoot in California since it was first signed into law in 2014. As compared to the same time last year, feature shoot days increased by 11 percent and account for 11.3 percent of the 1,184 on-location film shooting days during the second quarter. The films include Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Brie Larson’s Captain Marvel, the science-fiction film Bumblebee, and Amy Poehler’s Netflix film set Wine Country.

“We are grateful for the continued positive impact of the California Film Tax Credit as it boosts employment and production in Greater Los Angeles,” FilmL.A. President Paul Audley said. “While TV Drama is down quarter to quarter, much of that is due to the production cycle of these shows which went on hiatus during the second quarter. Increases in feature film, commercials and TV comedy production are very good news for the region’s economy.”