Gotham Film Commissioner Cynthia Lopez Exiting After 16 Months

By Patrick Hipes, Anita Busch

UPDATE, 12 p.m,: A highly placed source within the administration of Governor Andrew Cuomo augmented Deadline’s report about the resignation of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s film commissioner by pointing out that 1) the tax credits enjoyed by film and TV producers are provided by New York State, under the leadership of Governor Andrew Cuomo, through a program begun in 2004 and that 2) while the Mayor did indeed reach out to Les Moonves to ensure the continued residency of The Late Show in New York City, it was the state, under the leadership of Governor Andrew Cuomo, that provided a grant to CBS for the renovation of the Ed Sullivan Theatre as well as additional tax incentives. Just so we know. — Jeremy Gerard

EARLIER: Lopez, who has headed the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment since April 2014, has resigned. The news came quickly this morning. The plan is for her to exit in October and be replaced by acting commissioner by First Deputy Commissioner Luis Castro, a former HBO programming executive.

Lopez was hired by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio after her successful run as the head of PBS’ documentary series POV. She replaced longtime film commissioner Katherine Oliver, who exited at the end of former Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s third and final term and joined Bloomberg Associates, the former may0r’ philanthropic initiative. Lopez is a native New Yorker whose lack of experience in the city bureaucracy was noted at the time of her hire, and sources at the time of her appointment told Deadline that a key selection will be who the deputy commissioner would be in her new regime.

Under Lopez, the commission has been bullish about further incentivizing film and TV production in Gotham through generous tax credits and a streamlined permit process. De Blasio personally lobbied CBS chief Leslie Moonves to keep the Late Show in New York after David Letterman retired. It’s staying put with Stephen Colbert now taking over (though it was unclear if it ever was leaving in the first place).

In today’s announcement, the city said Lopez oversaw 56% growth in episodic TV shows filming in NYC in the 2014-2015 season.

“I want to thank Mayor de Blasio for this wonderful opportunity,” Lopez said today in her official statement. “It has been satisfying to know that every time a Made in NY truck is on the streets of our communities, it means 130,000 more New Yorkers in middle class jobs. I also want to thank my staff who do an incredible job working every day with film crews, producers, and directors to make the process of filming in NYC as seamless as possible, and to help communities with concerns when they arise. When I began as Commissioner I wanted to ensure greater opportunities in the industry from diverse experiences, an increase in film production in the City, and to lay the groundwork for the Agency to be more of a ‘one stop shop’ for productions. I am happy to say we’ve accomplished these goals.”

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