Thursday, October 27, 2016
  • Thursday, Mar. 10, 2016
9 TV Series Awarded California Tax Credits
$230 million in overall incentives for fiscal 2015-’16 to generate $1.7 billion in spending
  • HOLLYWOOD, Calif.
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The California Film Commission has 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. Round three resulted in nine TV series being selected to receive incentives.

A total of five allocation rounds (three for TV, two for feature films and independent projects) have been held throughout the fiscal year. The final application period was February 15-22, and drew 21 TV project applications vying for $37.6 million in tax credits.

The nine winning projects include an additional relocating TV series, which makes a total of five series that have relocated to California due to the expanded tax credit program. Also among the approved projects unveiled today are three new TV series, both of which filmed pilots out-of-state. Rounding out the list are three pilots, and a pair of existing TV series returning to the tax credit program for additional episodes. 

“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 Amy Lemisch, executive director of the California Film Commission. “Every new TV series we attract or retain brings long-term, high-wage jobs that would otherwise go elsewhere.” 

The nine newly-approved TV projects are categorized as follows: 
• Existing TV Series (2 Projects):  “American Horror Story” (Season 6; Twentieth Century Fox) and “Westworld” (additional Season 1 episodes; HBO)  
• New TV Series  (3 Projects):  “Good Girls Revolt” (Mesquite Productions), “Shooter” (Paramount Studios) and “I’m Dying Up Here” (Showtime)  
• Pilots  (3 Projects)  “Bunker Hill” (Universal Television), “Citizen” (Paramount Television) and “Four Stars” (CBS Studios) 
• Relocating TV Series (1 Project)   “Scream Queens” (Twentieth Century Fox)  

The relocating series “Scream Queens” filmed its first season in New Orleans, and will start California production in July. It is the second series created/produced by Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk to relocate to California with aid of the state’s expanded tax credit program (the first was “American Horror Story”). 

In the category for new series, “Good Girls Revolt” and “Shooter” were both picked up from pilots that were filmed out-of-state--the former in New York (where it is set), the latter in Vancouver. In addition, the current pilot for “Four Stars” is set in Tampa, Florida. 

“One of the many benefits of filming in California is our wide range of locations that can double for anywhere in the world,” added Lemisch.” It’s great to once again see so many projects--including shows like ‘Four Stars’ and ‘Good Girls Revolt’--take advantage of our diverse locations.”  

Based on data provided with each application, the nine approved projects announced today will generate an estimated $313 million in direct in-state spending, including $121 million in wages to belowthe-line crew members.  

For the full fiscal year, the expanded tax credit program is on track to generate a total of $1.7 billion in direct in-state spending, including $659 million in below-the-line wages. The California Film Commission anticipates the figures will grow substantially next year, when the program receives its full $330 million in annual funding (note funding for the first fiscal year was $230 million, with an additional $100 million allocated for the final year of the state’s expiring first-generation tax credit program). 

Projects approved for California tax credits are selected based on their jobs ratio score, which ranks each project by wages to below-the-line workers, qualified spending for vendors, equipment, etc., and other criteria. The top 200% ranked projects in each round (i.e., those that would qualify if double the amount of funding was available for the current allocation round) compete for tax credits, while those not selected are placed on the waiting list.  

The expanded tax credit program allocates funding in “buckets” for different production categories, including non-independent feature films, independent projects and TV projects. This enables applicants to compete for credits directly against comparable projects. 

As has been the case since the state launched its first-generation tax credit program in 2009, the California Film Commission awards tax credits only after each selected project: 1) completes postproduction, 2) verifies that in-state jobs were created, and 3) provides all required documentation, including audited cost reports.  

The first two application periods for fiscal 2016-17 (which begins July 1, 2016) will be held May 20-27 for TV projects, and June 27 – July 8 for independent and non-independent feature films.