TV productions soar in L.A. in the third quarter

Oscar winner Marcia Gay Harden, second from left, during filming of the new CBS medical drama, "Code Black," at Disney Studios in Burbank on August 14, 2015.

Oscar winner Marcia Gay Harden, second from left, during filming of the new CBS medical drama, “Code Black,” at Disney Studios in Burbank on August 14, 2015.

(Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times)

Television production in the Los Angeles region surged in the third quarter, driven by a crop of new dramas receiving state film tax credits.

Overall television activity produced 4,308 shoot days in the three-month period ending Sept. 30 , up 12% over the same period a year ago and the highest quarterly yield since 2010, according to the latest report from FilmL.A. Inc.

TV dramas saw a 24% increase in shoot days, while sitcoms jumped 168%, FilmL.A. reported. The nonprofit group handles film permits for the city and the county.


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Production of TV pilots and Web-based TV shows from YouTube, BuzzFeed and other digital media players also posted double-digit gains in the quarter.

Analysts said the figures reflect a surge in original programming across multiple platforms and a shift away from reality TV, which saw a 20% drop in shoot days but remained the single biggest category within the television sector.

They also cited the impact of California’s film and TV tax credit, which was expanded earlier this year. Shows that received the credit accounted for 21% of on-location shoot days in the drama category, 9% of sitcoms and 34% of TV pilots, FilmL.A. said.

Those shows included ABC’s “Wicked City,” Fox’s “American Crime Story,” CBS’s “Code Black,” and FX’s “American Horror Story,” which previously filmed in Louisiana. Shows streamed over the Internet, such as Amazon’s “Bosch” and the Netflix comedy “Grace and Frankie,” also have boosted local television activity.

“Our numbers are being substantially increased by these additional programs that have the state incentive,” said Paul Audley, president of FilmL.A. “It’s going to result in tens of thousands of jobs and millions of dollars of spending here.”


Feature film production, however, dropped 11% in the quarter, with 1,146 shoot days.

The state tax credit was also intended to give studios more incentive to shoot major movies in California. So far, however, that hasn’t happened.

Many projects that have received the incentives have yet to begin production, Audley said, adding that he expects to see an increase in feature film activity later this year once those new projects get underway.