TV production in L.A. jumps 31% in the third quarter

Camera operator Kenji Luster, left, and actor Titus Welliver, who plays Det. Harry Bosch, work on set in Hollywood for the series "Bosch" from Amazon Studios.
(Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)

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

Even as local feature film production continued to fall, shoots for television programs jumped 31% in the third quarter compared to the same time a year ago, generating 5,363 production days, according to newly-released figures from FilmL.A. Inc.

The increase marks the second consecutive period of growth in the television market and underscores L.A.’s growing reliance on the television industry to help offset losses caused by the migration of feature film work to other states and countries that draw big-budget films. 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.


The growth in television partly reflects an industry-wide increase in TV production that has brought a crop of new dramas to L.A. market, such as Steven Spielberg’s sci-fi series for CBS, “Extant,” starring Halle Berry; as well as the cable dramas “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
by dramatic television producers’ interest in filming in Los Angeles,” FilmL.A. President Paul Audley said in a statement. “With the new tax credit taking effect next July, we see strong potential for growth in local TV work ahead.”

In all, eight new 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, while 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 the rise in local TV production. Web-based TV jumped 12% in the third quarter, according to the report.

Industry-wide changes in scheduling of TV shows may also have contributed to the increase in TV production. Because of the increase in cable programs, more production is occurring in the summer months than in prior years. At the same time, broadcast network shows also are extending their production seasons longer to better compete with cable rivals.


“It’s a continuation of a pattern that we’ve been seeing,” said Philip Sokoloski, spokesman for FilmL.A., which handles permits for the city and L.A. County. “Networks are adopting a summer schedule that more closely resembles cable networks.”

Notwithstanding the spike in TV production, L.A.’s share of TV drama production has declined over the last decade due to rising competition from New York and other cities offering steep tax breaks to producers.

So-called runaway production also has led to a sharp drop in feature film activity in L.A.

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,” “Never Leave,” “Scouts vs. Zombies,” and “The Perfect Guy.”

Large-budget features, however, mostly film outside of California. For example, after filming the last two “Star Trek” movies in L.A., Paramount Pictures selected Vancouver, Canada, as the next location for the third film to take advantage of generous incentives offered north of the border.

Twitter: @rverrier