ABC’s drama procedural Body Of Proof was the big winner in this year’s $100 million California production tax credit giveway, landing the biggest subsidy of all 28 film and TV projects that received allocations: $12.1 million. But the series starring Dana Delany may only get 59% of that amount if the series’ current order stands. A bubble show, sophomore Body Of Proof received a last-minute, 13-episode third-season order and did not land a spot on ABC’s fall schedule. But the series’ tax credit application for the California Film & TV Tax Credit Program was submitted for a 22-episode third season. (Body Of Proof‘s eligibility for up to 25% of its qualified expenditures stems from its cross-country move after the first season from Rhode Island to California. It first earned a California tax credit last year, making it automatically eligible this year again.)
A steady performer at 10 PM, Body Of Proof has been a moneymaker for producing studio ABC Studios as it is a strong international seller, and the tax credit makes the series even more appealing for Disney-ABC. That would make a back-nine order to a full-season 22 episodes a no-brainer. But as of now, Body Of Proof is not slated to come on until midseason (possibly returning to its Tuesday 10 PM slot if Private Practice ends its run after 13 episodes as rumored.) If Body Of Proof starts its third season late, it may not need more than 13 episodes. (This past season when Body Of Proof first received a tax credit, it also had an original order of 13 episodes as a midseason replacement the previous season. Because the network had five episodes in the can from the previous season, it only produced two extra segments.) That would mean ABC would have to forfeit a large portion of its allocated tax credit, which would go to another production that didn’t make the cut in the Friday drawing. “While allocated, none of the credit is paid until they finish postproduction and an audit is done,” said Amy Lemisch, executive director of the California Film Commission. That’s unless ABC can figure a way to order and produce a 22-episode third season and hold some of the episodes for the following season. Of course, if any of ABC’s new fall drama series tanks, Body Of Proof may be summoned in early, making a back order likely with or without the tax credit.