The first female President of the United States is coming to California and we don’t mean Hillary Clinton’s June 19 fundraising visit. HBO’s Veep is one of the four relocating television series and 11 projects overall to be conditionally approved by the California Film Commission in the first round of production tax incentives under the now $330 million a year program. The CFC also revealed that American Crime Story, Major Crimes, Pretty Little Liars and Rizzoli & Isles were among the 27 projects to be chosen or grandfathered under the now shuttered lottery system (see full list below)
As Deadline revealed yesterday, the fifth season of FX’s American Horror Story will also receive a $9 million portion of the $27.6 million allocated for relocated series from other states and Canada under the new expanded non-lottery system. The past two seasons of AHS were produced in tax credit lucrative Louisiana while previous seasons of the political satire starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus were shot in Maryland. Veep is in line to get $6.5 million in incentives from California. Touchstone Television’s Secrets & Lies, which airs on ABC, and Viacom’s Hindsight, which debuted on VH-1 in January, were also approved under the relocating aspect of the program. .
The first seasons of HBO’s Westworld and Utopia plus CBS Studio’s Crazy Ex-Girlfriend were joined by 4 other projects in conditionally getting some of the $55.2 million available for new series, renewed series, pilots, miniseries and MOWs. The two HBO projects have been allocated $12 million and $19.6 million respectively. Touchstone’s Code Black, Universal Television’s Heart Breakers, Fox’s Rosewood and the pilot for Minim Prods’ Snowfall were the other successful projects selected under the first non-lottery system the CFC has used since the program was first introduced in 2009. It’s not surprising that more pilots were not approved as pilot season was fundamentally over before this application round even started. Surprisingly to many, WBTV’s Supergirl series, which is set to debut on CBS next season and is being made in L.A. did not qualify.
The CFC announced on May 19 that 16 TV series, three miniseries projects, four MOWs and eight pilots submitted for the first round of the new program during the May 11-17 application period. The 11 selected projects received credits based primarily on their jobs ratio score, which ranks each project by wages to below-the-line workers, qualified spending and other criteria, noted the CFC today. The initial round of feature and indie film applications will run from July 13-25 this year – for the first time in the state’s 6-year program, films with budgets over $75 million will be eligible.
And this is all about money and jobs, direct and trickle down. The state Film Commission estimates that the 11 projects made public today will create $544 million in direct in-state spending of which $216 million will be wages for below-the-line crew members – a step in the promised direction by the people who steered the expansion into legislative reality.
“We knew this expanded and improved program would deliver for California. Today’s news is exactly what we hoped for: good, middle class jobs in television and movies returning to our state,” said Assembly member Mike Gatto (D-Glendale) today. “The proof is in the results, with more to come in the years ahead.” Along with the now out of office Raul Bocanegra (D-Pacoima), Gatto co-authored the legislation that became the California Film and Television Job Retention and Promotion Act of 2014. Raising the state’s incentives program from $100 million a year to $330 million a year, the Act was signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown last September. “Our leaders in Sacramento have begun to understand that keeping entertainment jobs and spending in-state is a worthy goal with a positive return on investment – and we’ll have to keep moving forward to ensure we win the battle against runaway production,” said Rajiv Dalal, L.A.’s former deputy Film Czar and current candidate for the the seat held by the term limited Gatto.
“Today, we learned that 11 television projects will receive tax incentives–proof that our hard work created thousands of jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars in new wages, much of which will be spent back into the Los Angeles economy,” said L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti Tuesday. The SAG card carrying civic pol was a big advocate of expanding the tax credits to bring more productions and jobs back to the home of Hollywood in the face of runaway production. “These new jobs offer electricians, caterers, actors, and truck drivers alike, new opportunities in television production and the entertainment industry. Four existing veteran TV series can now afford to relocate to California, which means that more Angelenos in the entertainment industry will return to their home state.”
Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de León, who was instrumental in getting rid of the lottery system and getting the Act into its final stages, put it bluntly: “Behind-the-camera workers who have been separated from their families, working in states like Georgia and Louisiana, will be coming home and bringing their paychecks with them to benefit our economy.”
Others also praised today’s announcement with the California Film & Television Production Alliance saying that “the four veteran TV series that wanted—and are now able—to relocate to California are further proof that this legislation will have its intended result: creating jobs for Californians who want to live and work in their state.”
And, in the end of an era, the projects that are to get the last of the $100 million given out via lottery were made public today. On April 2, the CFC said that a total of 18 projects were initially selected to get some of the $10 million left over, with $90 million already going to renewed series that had received credits in the past, like ABC Family’s Pretty Little Liars. Of the 246 applications before the April Fool’s Day lottery, 16 independent projects have had their number picked while 11 returning TV series were accepted for an automatic allocation renewal. Here’s that full list.