Is New York the New Hollywood? - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

From Tony McEwing

Is New York the New Hollywood?

Posted: Updated:
Well, it’s finally happened. For the first time ever, another city has overtaken Los Angeles as the top spot to shoot TV drama pilots. New York City has now become the primary site for filming such projects. It’s not just a huge blow to California’s pride and its economy, it’s a trend that has been going on virtually unaddressed for years.

LA’s share of overall pilot production has now plummeted to an abysmal 44 percent according to FilmLA. It’s the first time that number has ever been below 50 percent. Last year, LA had 52 percent of pilot production and just six years ago it had a whopping 82 percent. What a difference a few years makes. Of the 203 hour-long dramas and half-hour comedies tracked, 90 were shot in Los Angeles. When you look at dramas alone, only 19 called LA home while 24 opted for the Big Apple for the 2013-14 production year. And it’s not just New York. Other cities like Vancouver, Atlanta and Toronto are gaining ground on the City of Angels as well.

There’s no big mystery here. It’s all about money, specifically, tax incentives. Other countries and states are offering huge tax breaks to lure film productions. Tons of jobs that have helped fuel LA’s economy for decades are being lost at an alarming rate, not to mention the negative financial effect on thousands of businesses that depend on the entertainment industry for their survival. The economic impact to California in general and LA in particular is almost incomprehensible. And worst of all, it’s so unnecessary.

It’s one thing to lose out because of free market forces beyond anyone’s control. But that’s absolutely not the case here. California and LA seem to be abdicating the throne as the entertainment capital of the world without much of a fight. Complacent, clueless or unbelievably careless lawmakers are directly to blame for this runaway production crisis. For whatever reasons, legislators have been content to take very little meaningful action as other nations, states and municipalities wooed away key segments of the entertainment industry.

Can this disturbing trend be reversed? Probably. The state senate is preparing to hold its first hearings on proposals to expand California’s embarrassingly minuscule 100 million dollar TV tax credit program. Who knows? Maybe these latest numbers will spur Sacramento to do more than just talk about the runaway production problem and take significant steps to actually stop it.
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