‘Late Show’ move to L.A. considered a long shot

Will the “Late Show” under Stephen Colbert move to Los Angeles?

Don’t count on it.

After “Late Show” host David Letterman announced he was stepping down last week, Mayor Eric Garcetti personally appealed to CBS Chief Les Moonves, saying in a letter that he was “excited for the opportunity to encourage you to bring CBS’ next late night show to our city.”

Garcetti and his newly appointed film czar, Ken Ziffren, reinforced that message in a phone call with Moonves this week.


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But that was before CBS announced on Thursday that Colbert would be the next host after Letterman retires next year. Colbert, host and executive producer of “The Colbert Report,” is based in New York.

And Mayor Bill de Blasio and other city leaders also have been making their case on why the iconic “Late Show” should remain at the Ed Sullivan Theater in Manhattan.

Under California’s incentive program, the only TV shows that are eligible for tax breaks are new basic cable programs or network and pay-TV scripted shows relocating from elsewhere.

By contrast, New York last year allowed certain talk shows to qualify for its 30% rebate, a move that was widely seen to court NBC before it decided to move “The Tonight Show” from Burbank to New York under new host Jimmy Fallon.

Whether California will do the same remains unclear.

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Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-Los Angeles), who co-wrote a bill approved by an Assembly panel last month that would renew and extend California’s film and TV tax credit, said he’s undecided on whether to amend the program to include talk shows.

“We have to exercise some caution here,” he said. “Any time government looks like it’s giving a tax break for one production, it is hugely problematic.”

What’s more, he said, giving tax breaks to talk shows could dilute the pool of tax relief available to scripted TV programs and movies.

“It’s something we’re considering,” he said, “but we also have some substantial concerns.”


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