The number of broadcast drama pilots dropped this year to what may be an all-time low of 35, down from 41 in 2018. Despite the overall double-digit volume decline, Vancouver made big year-to-year gains with 10 drama pilots, up from 6 last year. That is believed to be an all-time record for the coastal Canadian city and is the most of any city this pilot season. For comparison, in 2014, when there was a similar low number of broadcast drama pilots, 36, Vancouver housed 5 of them.
In total, almost a third of the broadcast drama pilots this year, 11, are headed to Canada (10 in Vancouver, 1 in Toronto), boosted at least in part by an advantageous exchange rate, which may raise again the issue of runaway production. Meanwhile, Los Angeles, which had been regaining ground after the all-time low tally of 5 broadcast drama pilots in 2014 with the help of a tax incentives program that includes pilots, dropped from 8 hourlong network pilots last year to five, tying the 2014 low.
On the bright side, Film L.A. recently reported that California looks poised to hit an all-time record in 2018 of one-hour TV series being produced within its borders, boosted by straight-to-series orders at the streaming networks. And Los Angeles is once again the undisputed comedy pilot king, with all half-hour broadcast pilots this season (25 vs. 27 last year) filled in the city.
After finishing No.1 last year, New York, which also offers tax breaks, slipped to No.2 behind Vancouver with 9 drama pilots vs. 11 last year.
After a major retreat last year (2 broadcast drama pilots vs. 7 in 2017), Atlanta rebounded with 4 pilots this year, five total for the state of Georgia, including one in Savannah.
However, for the first time since I started the Pilot Locations report at Deadline in 2011, there is not a single pilot filming in Chicago this year. Four drama pilots were shot in the Windy City in 2018.
In other trends, production was unusually clustered in the established pilot production hubs this year. While there were 7 drama pilots filmed outside of Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Canada, Georgia, Louisiana and New Mexico, this year the number was three.
Here is a breakdown of the 2018 broadcast drama pilots by location:
VANCOUVER – 10 Drama Pilots (up from 6 in 2018)
- The Hypnotist’s Love Story (ABC)
- Stumptown (ABC) with a few days in Portland
- Frankenstein (CBS)
- Republic of Sarah (CBS)
- Surveilance (CBS)
- Next (Fox)
- Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist (NBC), with limited exterior shooting in San Francisco
- Unt. Nancy Drew (the CW)
- The Lost Boys (The CW, one-hour)
- Batwoman (The CW, pictured above): with some limited exterior shooting in Chicago
TORONTO – 1 (down from 2 in 2018)
- Glamorous (the CW)
NEW YORK – 9 (down from 11 in 2018)
- NYPD Blue (ABC)
- New York Undercover (ABC)
- Unt. Hank Steinberg (ABC)
- Lincoln (NBC)
- Evil (CBS)
- F.B.I.: Most Wanted (CBS)
- Prodigal Son (Fox)
- Unt. Weisman/Katims (Fox)
- Katy Keene (The CW)
LOS ANGELES – 5 (down from 8 in 2018)
- Until the Wedding (ABC)
- Tommy (CBS)
- Under the Bridge (CBS)
- Courthouse (CBS)
- Jane the Novela (the CW)
ATLANTA, GA – 4 (up from 2 in 2018)
- The Baker and the Beauty (ABC), with some exterior shots in Miami
- Heart of Life (ABC)
- Unt. Tom Kapinos (Fox)
- Deputy (Fox)
SAVANNAH, GA – 1 (up from 0 in 2018)
- Council of Dads (NBC)
NEW ORLEANS – 1 (down from 2 in 2018)
- Filthy Rich (Fox)
ALBUQUERQUE, NM – 1 (even with 2018)
- Prism (NBC)
OTHERS – 3
- New Zealand (Triangle, ABC)
- Memphis, TN (Bluff City Law, NBC)
- New Jersey (Emergence, NBC)