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HBO's 'Ballers' plans to relocate filming to California from Florida

HBO's 'Ballers' plans to relocate filming to California from Florida
Rob Corddry, left, and Dwayne Johnson in a scene from the HBO series "Ballers." (HBO)

“Ballers,” the HBO series starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as a former NFL athlete trying to score a touchdown as a financial manager, will be the latest TV series relocating to California to take advantage of the state’s expanded tax incentive program.

The series will move to the Los Angeles area from Miami, where it shot its first two seasons, according to the California Film Commission. The show will be the seventh TV series to relocate to California under the state's expanded program, an initiative launched in 2015 to reverse the tide of runaway productions to states including Georgia, Louisiana and North Carolina.

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Other TV series that have taken advantage of California's program include HBO's "Veep," which moved from Maryland, and FX's "American Horror Story," from Louisiana.

"Ballers" has been approved to receive $8.3 million in tax credits for shooting its next 10 episodes in California. By comparison, "Veep," which is also a half-hour series with 10 episodes per season, has been approved to receive $6.5 million in credits for its upcoming sixth season.

The final tax credit amount that a production receives can vary depending on how much it ends up spending.

A spokeswoman for HBO confirmed that "Ballers" was approved for the tax incentive program.

"In evaluating the production resources, and its evolving story lines, the producers have decided to relocate the base of production to California," the cable channel said in a statement. "We would like to thank the city of Miami and state of Florida for their help and support in making the first two seasons of 'Ballers' a great success. HBO hopes to return to Florida to film in the future."

The decision to move "Ballers" to California comes after Florida's most recent film incentive program ended in June. The tax program launched in 2010 to attract film and TV productions to the Sunshine State, but it had experienced dwindling funds in its last few years, according to John Lux, executive director of Film Florida, a nonprofit organization that represents the state's entertainment production industry.

"Ballers" has been a "great group to have in Florida," Lux said in an interview. "We're obviously disappointed that they're leaving. Our goal is to sit down with the legislature to see if we can collaborate on a program that first and foremost works for the state of Florida and can be beneficial to our industry."

Film Florida said the state has lost a slew of productions in recent years as the incentive program's funds were depleted. Feature films such as the upcoming "Live By Night," directed by and starring Ben Affleck, and the 2015 indie "99 Homes" were both set in Florida but filmed in Georgia and Louisiana, respectively.

"Ballers" received $3.9 million in Florida tax credits for its first season, according to a recent report from the Florida Office of Film and Entertainment.

For its third season, the series will employ 135 cast members, 209 base crew members and 5,700 extras, according to the California Film Commission.

California is expected to award a total of $330 million in film tax credits for the current fiscal year and to stay at that annual level through the remainder of the five-year expanded program.

Twitter: @DavidNgLAT

UPDATES:

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9:55 a.m.: This article was updated with confirmation and a statement from HBO.

This article was originally published at 7 a.m.

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