On Location: L.A. area sees surge in location shoots for TV shows

“Bosch” from Amazon Studios and other new shows streamed over the Internet have helped to fuel an increase in TV permits in the Los Angeles area.
“Bosch” from Amazon Studios and other new shows streamed over the Internet have helped to fuel an increase in TV permits in the Los Angeles area.
(Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)

TV production continued to steal the show in the third quarter, as location shoots for television shows surged in the Los Angeles area.

Shoots for television programs on city and county streets jumped 31% in the period compared with the same time a year ago, generating 5,362 production days, according to newly released figures from FilmL.A. Inc. The surge comes as local feature film production continued to decline.

This marks the second consecutive quarter of growth in the television market and underscores L.A.’s growing reliance on the television industry as feature film work has migrated to other states and countries. Gov. Jerry Brown recently approved a bill that would triple annual funding for California’s film incentive in an effort to keep more work from leaving the state.


There has been an industry-wide increase in TV programming in recent years that has brought a crop of new dramas to L.A., such as Steven Spielberg’s sci-fi series for CBS, “Extant,” starring Halle Berry; “Matador” for El Rey Network; and “Chasing Life” for ABC Family.

“While we are still trying to reclaim our share of television production, we’re encouraged,” FilmL.A. President Paul Audley said of the upswing in TV shoots. “With the new tax credit taking effect next July, we see strong potential for growth in local TV work ahead.”

Eight series set to premiere this fall are filming in L.A., compared with five a year ago, according to FilmL.A.

TV dramas saw a 43% increase in production days, reality TV jumped nearly 50%, and pilot production was 41% higher. TV sitcoms, which make up a small portion of television filming days, declined 29%.

New shows streamed over the Internet, such as “Bosch” from Amazon Studios, also have helped to fuel an increase in TV permits. Web-based TV jumped 12% in the third quarter, according to the report.

Additionally, more TV shows than before are being filmed in the summer months as cable TV programming has expanded. The competition has prompted broadcast networks to extend their production seasons into summer.


Still, L.A.’s share of the TV pie has been shrinking because of rising competition from New York and other cities offering steep tax breaks to producers. The L.A. region’s share of pilot production dropped to a historic low in the most recent pilot season.

Runaway production also has led to a long-term slide in feature filming in Southern California.

Feature film shoots declined 4% in the third quarter compared with the same period a year ago, with 1,881 production days. Several films with low to medium-sized budgets qualified for state tax credits, including “Straight Outta Compton,” “Scouts vs. Zombies” and “The Perfect Guy.”

Most big-budget studio films shoot out of state because they don’t qualify for state credits. For example, after filming the last two “Star Trek” movies in L.A., Paramount Pictures is filming its third film in Vancouver, Canada.

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