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.

After a year of saber-rattling among Georgia state legislators about killing the film incentive program, they just voted to tweak but keep the program in place. Two drama pilots are shooting in Atlanta thus year, NBC’s untitled JJ Abrams/Eric Kripke and Fox’s Kevin Williamson. The location choice for the latter accommodates Williamson as one of his two series on the air, The Vampire Diaries, also shoots there. The only other city/state with multiple pilots this season, Chicago (Chicago Fire, John Berman/Rob Wright) also has aa tax credit program in place. For several projects, like Chicago Fire, the shooting location matches their setting. The list includes Gotham, 666 Park Avenue, Trooper, Golden Boy, Elementary, Baby Big Shot and The Carrie Diaries (New York), Scruples, Widow Detective, Devious Maids and County (Los Angeles), Chicago Fire & Josh Berman/Bob Wright (Chicago) and Nashville (Nashville). But among the US shoots, we also have Manhattan-set Gilded Lily shooting in Boston and New England-set Shelter filming in North Carolina.

Comedy pilots continue to be a Los Angeles domain, with all half-hour pilots filming here. (One of them, NBC’s Next Caller, may move to New York if picked up to series.) With comedy pilots factored in, Los Angeles’ share of pilot production remained unchanged from last year at 60%. However, comedies on average employ fewer people as they do fewer location shoots. (Multi-camera sitcoms film almost entirely on a soundstage.) That is not good news for the city, which already posted a 3% decline in television activity last year, when Los Angeles’ overall share of produced pilots (broadcast and cable) decreased to 51% from 58% the year before and 82% seven years ago, according to FilmLA. Here is a list of this year’s broadcast drama pilots by location:

Related: AFTRA Again Dominates Broadcast Pilots But SAG Affiliation Is On The Rise


  • 666 Park Avenue ABC
  • The Carrie Diaries CW
  • Golden Boy CBS
  • Guilty Fox
  • Trooper CBS
  • Elementary CBS
  • Gotham ABC
  • Americana ABC
  • Roland Emmerich ABC
  • Notorious NBC
  • Baby Big Shot CBS


  • Beauty & The Beast ABC
  • Penoza ABC
  • Midnight Sun NBC
  • Mockingbird Lane NBC
  • The Selection CW
  • Arrow CW
  • Cult CW
  • Joey Dakota CW
  • First Cut CW


  • Bad Girls CBS
  • Scruples ABC
  • Devious Maids ABC
  • Widow Detective CBS
  • County NBC
  • Karyn Usher Fox
  • The Asset Fox
  • Applebaum CBS


  • Untitled J.J. Abrams/Eric Kripke NBC
  • Untitled Kevin Williamson Fox


  • Josh Berman/Rob Wright Fox
  • Chicago Fire NBC


Shelter CW (North Carolina)
Gilded Lilys ABC (Boston)
Nashville ABC (Nashville)
Zero Hour (Montreal)
Last Resort ABC (Hawaii)
Frontier NBC (Australia)
Untitled Las Vegas CBS (Santa Fe)
Beauty And The Beast CW (Toronto)
Do No Harm  NBC (Philadelphia)