Los Angeles TV Production Dips in 2016-17 Season


Los Angeles remains the top place for TV production.

According to a newly released report from FilmL.A., the nonprofit film office, 173 broadcast, cable and digital pilots — 109 dramas and 64 comedies — were produced during the 2016-17 development cycle, more than two dozen fewer than the previous year. 

Out of those 173 pilots, a total of 68 projects — 22 dramas and 46 comedies — were filmed in the Los Angeles region, yielding an estimated $303 million in production spending. Despite a slight drop in overall pilots produced since last year, the city’s share of overall pilot production by project count remains steady at 39 percent. 

“Despite this year’s smaller crop of pilots, Los Angeles’ television industry is robust,” FilmL.A. president Paul Audley said Wednesday in a statement. “With so many projects underway, California is home to more scripted series than its top five competitors combined.” 

After Los Angeles, the top competitors for pilot production in 2015-16 included New York (with 24 projects), Vancouver (21 projects), Atlanta (12 projects) and Toronto (nine projects). 

FilmL.A.’s report, which also examines straight-to-series show orders and digital pilot projects in production, reveals that a total of 65 network, cable and digital shows were ordered straight-to-series in the 2016-17 cycle. Cable networks put 29 shows into production, while digital networks launched 27 shows and broadcast networks launched nine shows straight-to-series. 

"When it comes to television, L.A. production has never been stronger,” added Los Angeles County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl. “This report demonstrates that L.A. is still the place to shoot, whether you're producing pilots or series. And as a former actress, I am well aware of how many jobs each and every one of those episodes generates." 

By FilmL.A.’s count, there are 173 series currently in production in California out of 426 sampled series currently in production across network, cable and digital distribution channels. That number includes 62 Los Angeles-based drama series, 30 of which receive tax incentives from the state. Altogether, California-based incentivized series will spend an estimated $1.72 billion during the present season. 

“If you grew up in Detroit, someone on your block worked for a car manufacturer or owned a business where autoworkers spent their paychecks. Here in L.A., the same goes for our entertainment industry — it’s the bedrock of our middle class,” noted Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. “Today’s report further demonstrates the importance of our California Film and Television Tax Credit, which is keeping production where it belongs — in Los Angeles — and making our city home to more scripted television than its top competitors combined. We’re hearing a lot of good news from the entertainment industry, but we have to keep investing in our middle class — and that means restoring our market share of pilot production.”