'Scream Queens' Moves Shoot After Nabbing California Tax Credits

Steve Dietl/FOX
'Scream Queens'

The third and final round of TV projects announced will receive $37.6 million in tax credits and are expected to generate $313 million in in-state spending.

The Fox TV series Scream Queens is moving its shoot to California to take advantage of the state’s newly expanded film and TV credit program.

The California Film Commission on Wednesday announced the third and final round of TV projects selected for the first fiscal year of the state's expanded Film & Television Tax Credit Program 2.0. According to the commission, the nine projects, which have just been approved and which will collectively receive $37.6 million in tax credits, will generate $313 million in direct in-state spending, including $121 million in wages to below-the-line crew members.

The horror spoof is among nine projects selected to receive the credits that were announced Wednesday. With the return of Scream Queens, the credit program will have encouraged a total of five series to relocate to California.

Ryan Murphy had particular reason to celebrate. In addition to his Scream Queens, the prolific producer's American Horror Story was also among the projects selected by the California Film Commission to receive tax credit as part of the state's expanded program. Scream Queens will relocate to Los Angeles after filming its first season in New Orleans. American Horror Story did the same when it received the tax credit for season five after having filmed two seasons in New Orleans.

"Our success in helping five existing TV series relocate to California in less than a year illustrates the success we're achieving with the expanded tax credit program" said California Film Commission executive director Amy Lemisch.

The latest list also includes HBO's Westworld, which received the credit for its remaining season-one episodes (the show went on a hiatus in January), and it also included three other forthcoming series: Amazon's '60s-set drama Good Girls Revolt; USA's Shooter, based on the Mark Wahlberg movie; and Showtime's dark comedy I'm Dying Up Here.

Pilots selected include Jason Katims' CBS medical drama Bunker Hill, Hulu's drama Citizen and another drama, the military-themed Four Star.

Good Girls Revolt and Shooter were both picked up from pilots that were filmed out-of-state — the former shot in New York, where the series is set, and the latter shot in Vancouver. And while Four Stars is set in Tampa, Fla., it will now film in California.

'One of the many benefits of filming in California is our wide range of locations that can double for anywhere in the world," Lemisch commented. "It's great to once again see so many projects — including TV shows like Four Stars and Good Girls Revolt — take advantage of diverse locations."

For the full fiscal year, the commission reported, the expanded tax credit program is on track to generate a total of $1.7 billion in in-state spending, including $659 million in below-the-line wages. Those figures should grow next year when the program will receive $330 million in annual funding — funding for the first fiscal year of the program, just concluding, was $230 million with an additional $100 million allocated to the final year of the state's expiring first-generation tax credits.

The expanded tax credit program allocates funding in "buckets" for different production categories, including non-independent feature films, indie projects and TV projects. The first two applications periods for fiscal 2016-2017 (which begins July 1) will be held May 20-27 for TV projects and June 27-July 8 for indie and non-independent feature films.