The TV comedy resurgence cannot come soon enough for the Los Angeles production community because Hollywood is fast losing ground on the drama side to New York and Vancouver. New York State’s August 2010 decision to extend and expand its Film Production Tax Credit Program continues to pay dividends in TV in a big way. A record 11 broadcast drama pilots are shooting in New York this season, up from 9 last year and 0 the year before, just before the tax credit vote. For the first time this year New York eclipsed traditional location leader, Los Angeles, in the number of drama broadcast pilot shoots. What’s more, Los Angeles fell from first to third place with 8 of the 41 drama pilots shot here. That is down from 11 (out of 42) last year and 14 (out of 43) the year before.
The biggest gainer this year is Vancouver, which shot up to second place with 9 pilots, doubling its tally of 4.5 last year (Production of Fox’s Alcatraz was split between Vancouver and San Francisco). While currency exchange rate with Canada is still not as favorable as it was 3 years ago, it is a fraction better than last season. And filming in Vancouver is still a bargain compared to the U.S. Additionally, with so much production going on, there are experienced crews, Vancouver can relatively easily stand in for many locations in the U.S. and it shares a time zone with Los Angeles, making communication simple. Overall, runaway production accelerated this year with a total of 11 broadcast pilots filmed in Canada: 9 in Vancouver and one each in Toronto (CW’s Beauty And The Beast) and Montreal (ABC’s Zero Hour). That is almost double the 6 pilots shot north of the border last year. Additionally, NBC’s Frontier is being filmed in Australia. (more…)