TV Pilot Production in Los Angeles Down 13 Percent

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend - Rachel Bloom and Gabrielle Ruiz - H 2015
The CW

Specifically, local comedy pilot production has dropped by 23 percent compared to last year.

Pilot production in Los Angeles has dipped this year.

According to a new report released Wednesday by nonprofit FilmL.A.'s research division, a total of 201 broadcast, cable and digital pilots (123 dramas, 78 comedies) were produced during the 2015-16 development cycle, just one shy of last year's count — and of those 201 pilots, a total of 79 (25 dramas, 54 comedies) were filmed in the Los Angeles region.

The figure marks a 13 percent drop from last year when 91 pilot projects filmed in L.A. It's also the lowest number of pilots produced in the region in the last six years. The likely reason for the decline? There has been a 23 percent year-over-year decrease (54 comedies this year compared to 70 in the previous cycle) in local comedy pilot production. Drama pilot production, on the other hand, has increased.

Still, the projects together yield an estimated $296 million in production spending, and Los Angeles remains the top filming destination. After L.A., the top competitors for pilot production in 2015-16 were New York (28 pilots), Vancouver (25), Atlanta (15) and Toronto (12). 

FilmL.A.’s 2016 report also examines straight-to-series orders and digital pilot projects in production. A total of 57 network, cable and digital shows were ordered straight-to-series in the 2015-16 cycle, with cable networks responsible for putting 24 shows into production, and digital networks — such as Amazon, Hulu and Netflix — almost matching the cable nets with 22 shows. 

In terms of drama series shooting in California, the state’s film and television tax credit program has had an easier time luring primetime dramas than comedies. In fact, there are more drama series in production in California today than at any point since 2008 — and half of the state’s 64 current dramas are incentive-qualified projects. 

“While we were disappointed to see a decline in local comedy pilot production, recent growth in drama pilot and series production is encouraging from the standpoint of overall area jobs and economic benefit,” said FilmL.A. president Paul Audley

"The California Film and Television Tax Credit program has proven to be a vital tool in the fight against runaway production. And it is delivering results for the men and women who are the heart and soul of our entertainment industry — the people who swing the hammers, drive the trucks, run the cable, and serve the food on set,” said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. “This report contains a lot of good news, but it also shows that L.A. is still losing too many good jobs, and too much revenue, to other states. We must continue investing in the future middle class of this city, and commit ourselves to doing all we can to ensure that production stays where it belongs — right here, in the creative capital of the world."