Dearth of Local TV Production Delivers Double-Digit Letdowns for L.A.

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Last week, FilmL.A. released its first quarter film production report for 2012. Unfortunately, the news was anything but rosy for those who work in on-location television production in Los Angeles.

Overall filming across all categories slipped 2.1 percent last quarter compared to the same period last year, as measured in permitted production days (PPD). FilmL.A. recorded 11,360 PPD for Q1 this year compared to 11,604 PPD in 2011.

But it was the Television category that delivered the worst of the quarter’s letdowns. Television production slipped 9.0 percent for the period (4,277 PPD in 2012 vs. 4,701 in 2011), led by lackluster numbers in the subcategories of TV Drama (down 18.6 percent to 1,029 PPD), TV Reality (down 19.3 percent to 1,558 PPD) and TV Pilot (down 11.4 percent to 335 PPD).

TV Sitcom, traditionally a soundstage-bound category of film production, increased sharply (up 23.3 percent to 444 PPD) thanks to filming from nearly two-dozen single-camera comedy series.


TV Drama 1,029 1,264 – 18.6%
TV Reality 1,558 1,930 – 19.3%
TV Sitcoms 444 360 + 23.3%
TV Pilots 335 378 – 11.4%


Even the California Film & Television Tax Credit Program, which brought nine state-qualified television projects to Los Angeles last quarter, couldn’t arrest the Television category’s overall slump.

State-qualified projects, including Franklin & Bash, Justified and Shadow on the Mesa, among others, contributed 68 PPD across various television subcategories, representing just 1.6 percent of total TV days logged during the quarter.

“This is the first quarter where we’ve seen television projects outnumber features in the list of incentivized projects filming locally,” FilmL.A. President Paul Audley observed. “Nonetheless, we continue to feel the sting of last year’s loss of television dramas and a softening in the reality production segment overall.”

FilmL.A. encourages all with an interest in this topic to access the full report. Recent data about on-location feature film and commercial production in Los Angeles is also included.

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