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Shifting production schedules cause jump in number of TV shoots in second quarter

The Showtime TV series
The Showtime TV series "Masters of Sex," now filming its second season in Southern California, is one of the shows contributing to an uptick in film production this quarter.
Michael Desmond Photography/Showtime

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We hear a lot about on-location TV production in the Los Angeles being in decline.  But the latest report from FilmLA  finds TV show production jumped 33 percent in the second quarter over the same period last year.  

FilmLA President Paul Audley believes this is due to shifts in television production schedules. In the period January through March, TV shoots dropped closed to 10 percent, compared to the same period last year, but from April through June, they were up by a third.

"More television is being filmed in the spring now for summer original content, which virtually didn’t exist on the TV market," Audley told KPCC. 

The series' debut of Showtime’s "Masters of Sex"was last September, but its second season premiered this past Sunday. Audley says that means its crew was busy in the spring when it might normally have been on hiatus.  He’ll be watching the third quarter closely, because that’s when traditional network dramas usually shoot.

"With so much of that work being drawn away by tax credits from other states, we’re concerned about it," Audley says. "Plus we know there are several long running series who’ve been in LA who will cease running this year, like  'Glee,' which has been around for a long time and done a lot of production here locally."

California's Film and Television tax credit program currently offers $100 million per year in tax incentives to qualifying productions.  Like most supporters, Audley is hoping Sacramento lawmakers will add more money to the pot. A bill to expand the production tax credit program has moved through the state assembly and is awaiting consideration in the Senate Appropriations committee

According to FilmLA, last quarter, 43 percent of area TV drama production was generated by projects that qualified for the tax credit. The shows included "Legends," "Major Crimes," "Murder in the First" and "Teen Wolf."