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L.A. Film Czar Creator Mayor Eric Garcetti Wasn’t Always Production-Friendly

By and | Monday July 28, 2014 @ 2:03pm PDT

L.A. Film Czar Creator Mayor Eric Garcetti Wasn’t Always Production-FriendlySecond in a series

Some location managers still struggle to film downtown in front of developer Tom Gilmore‘s properties. But there’s a long history in Los Angeles of filmmakers being hit on for cash to secure film locations. And while Mayor Eric Garcetti is film friendly now, he was once caught putting the squeeze on a major studio to film a movie in his district.

Related: L.A. Officials Probe Shakedown Claims On Downtown Shoots

As mayor, Garcetti created the position of Film Czar to cut red tape and re-invigorate local production, and he has lobbied Sacramento tirelessly to pass new state film incentives. But 12 years ago, as a member of the City Council, his requests for money contributed to a payoff culture that his own current deputy Film Czar Rajiv Dalal says has made Los Angeles “the extortion capital of the world for the film industry.”

Related: FilmLA: TV Production Soars In Q2 As Features Stay Steady With 2013

hollywood-homicideIn 2002, producers sought to close two blocks of Hollywood Boulevard for two days to film a scene for Sony’s Hollywood Homicide, which starred Harrison Ford and Josh Harnett. Garcetti, who represented the Hollywood area, told the studio he might not support the road closure unless they paid $10,000 to $25,000 for a study of traffic problems caused by filming in the area. He asked the studio to pay for the study, according to a Sony spokeswoman at the time. When asked by the media, however, then-Councilman Garcetti said he was going to get other studios to help cover the cost of the study; otherwise, he was going to withdraw all support from allowing crews to film on the famous boulevard. Read More »

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Lucas Museum Headed To Chicago Despite Last-Minute L.A. Charge

By | Tuesday June 24, 2014 @ 5:15pm PDT

Lucas Museum Headed To Chicago Despite Last-Minute L.A. ChargeUPDATE 5:15 PM: Filmmaker George Lucas and wife Mellody Hobson have picked the future home for the planned Lucas cultural arts museum and….it’s not Los Angeles. Instead, the renamed Lucas Museum of Narrative Art will be built on a 17-acre parking lot tucked alongside Lake Michigan between Chicago’s Soldier Field stadium and the city’s McCormick Place convention center, the couple announced today. The decision, which still needs ratification by the organization’s board and city approvals, comes despite a big push by the city of San Francisco and a rather light-hearted, very last-minute social-media campaign by L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti. The Los Angeles proposal would have put the museum  in Exposition Park, across the street from Lucas alma mater the University of Southern California and already home to several museums and the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Read More »

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UPDATE: Mayors de Blasio And Garcetti Settle Stanley Cup Bet On ‘Jimmy Kimmel Live’ (Video)

UPDATE: Mayors de Blasio And Garcetti Settle Stanley Cup Bet On ‘Jimmy Kimmel Live’ (Video)UPDATE: “We didn’t win lawn bowling, we won at hockey,” Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti told ABC late night host Jimmy Kimmel tonight after Kimmel congratulated Garcetti for swearing on national TV earlier in the day, during a Staples Center celebration of the Kings’ Stanley Cup victory. “Kids out there, do not say what your mayor said today,” Garcetti added, diplomatically.  Garcetti came to Kimmel’s studio to witness New York Mayor Bill de Blasio make good on a bet the two politicians had made, in which de Blasio agreed to sing the tune I Love  L.A. if the Kings won the Stanley Cup. Which they did. So he did.

“I always wanted to meet you, but not like this man!” de Blasio, via satellite, groused, before breaking into song, wearing an I Heart L.A. T-shirt and backed-up/drowned out by the cute kids of New York City’s 52nd Street Project chorus because, he’d warned in advance, “I don’t have that great a singing voice.”

When it was over, Kimmel complained de Blasio looked like a “counselor at the worst camp ever.”

“This is a hostage situation,” de Blasio shot back. Watch:

PREVIOUS: Hours before New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is scheduled to make good on his bet with Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti over the 2014 Stanley Cup Final tonight on ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live, Garcetti addressed a crowd at Staples Center in celebration of  the L.A. Kings’ victory. “There are two rules in politics,” Garcetti said. “They say, never ever be pictured with a drink in your hand, and never swear.” Holding up an adult beverage, he added, “But this is a big f—ing day.” The arena crowd roared in delight. The press broke out in an orgy of “F-bomb” headlines, and many pretended it was the spontaneous eruption of a guy who simply could not contain himself. Fox Sports West apologized on air for having telecast the mayor’s naughty language — as it did two years ago when a north-of-tipsy Jonathan Quick used the same expletives multiple times during the Kings victory celebration at Staples — and a good time was had by all.

Related: NYC Mayor To Sing On ‘Kimmel’ As Kings Cash In Eric Garcetti Bet

Before the Stanley Cup Final began, de Blasio announced he’d made a bet with Garcetti: If the New York Rangers won, Garcetti would perform a rendition of “New York, New York” the Fred Ebb-John Kander tune most closely associated with Frank Sinatra, on Jimmy Kimmel’s late-night show. If the Los Angeles Kings won, de Blasio would perform Randy Newman’s “I Love LA.” He will be joined tonight by New York City’s 52nd Street Project chorus –  a group of students ages of 9 to 18 — while Garcetti will be with Kimmel at his Hollywood studio.  Watch Garcetti’s Staples Center speech here:
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UPDATE: NYC Mayor To Sing On ‘Kimmel’ As Kings Cash In Eric Garcetti Bet, Set Parade

By | Saturday June 14, 2014 @ 8:20am PDT
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Garcetti & De Blasio: 2 Minutes For Betting

The losing city's mayor will have to sing the winning city's theme song on 'Jimmy Kimmel Live' as part of a friendly wager over the Kings-Rangers matchup in the Stanley Cup Final. Deadline's David Bloom and Dominic Patten discuss.

Kimmel Singoff GraphicUPDATE 8 AM Saturday: Well, like the old saying goes, it ain’t over until the tall mayor sings. Or something like that. The Los Angeles Kings closed out the NHL’s Stanley Cup Final last night with a(nother) thrilling and exhausting double-overtime win, becoming champs of the hockey world for the second time in three years. That means, under the terms of the bet between the mayors of Los Angeles and New York City, after Kings defenseman Alec Martinez gathered in a rebounding shot and put it back between the pipes to win the series, that Bill de Blasio will be warming up his very different pipes to sing I Love L.A. on Jimmy Kimmel Live! with L.A.’s Eric Garcetti looking on. According to a release from Garcetti’s office, the two mayors will appear “on an upcoming episode.”

In the meantime, a victory parade and rally for the Kings has been scheduled for noon Monday in downtown Los Angeles. It will begin at 5th Street and Figueroa Boulevard and come south on Figueroa to the Staples Center for a tickets-only rally. If you’re heading downtown Monday, Figueroa will be closed between about 10 AM and 1 PM, so plan accordingly.

June 5: The traditional joke bets between city officials whose sports teams are meeting in a championship hit a high note this week when Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti challenged New York Mayor Bill de Blasio to a song and a hot dog on Jimmy Kimmel Live! over the outcome of the NHL Stanley Cup Final. If the Los Angeles Kings win, de Blasio will have to go on the show, which tapes in Garcetti’s old Hollywood council district, and sing “I Love L.A.,” the slightly mocking Randy Newman chestnut more typically associated with the Kings’ Staples Center neighbors the NBA Lakers. If the New York Rangers win, Garcetti will have to sing “New York, New York,” the Kander & Ebb-penned classic that Frank Sinatra basically owns.

Related: RATINGS RAT RACE: NBC’s Stanley Cup Final Game 1 Scores Night’s Biggest Number

The loser also will have to provide Kimmel’s audience that night with hot dogs. If Garcetti has to pay up, the dogs will come from Pink’s, the eternally busy La Brea Avenue stand. If it’s de Blasio, they’ll come from Gray’s Papaya, a New York institution that now has a Hollywood outpost. Read More »

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A Lucas Museum In LA? Let Us Count The Reasons Why

By | Wednesday June 11, 2014 @ 6:45pm PDT

Garcetti Lucas

Wherever should George Lucas and his wife build their new cultural arts museum? Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti has an idea, and it turns out, so do a lot of other Angelenos. The mayor started a Twitter campaign last night, under the hashtag #WhyLucasInLA, to entice to the city the Lucas Cultural Arts Museum proposed by Mellody Hobson and her husband, filmmaker George Lucas. As part of his campaign, Garcetti urged people to tweet their reasons, along with an image, photo, video or other visual aid. Garcetti called on people to explain why the museum should come to Los Angeles instead of what he called in an email to supporters, “cold and rainy” Chicago and San Francisco. And yes, that image from the email is of the mayor holding a sign featuring the Star Wars droid R2-D2 with an “LA” logo across its, um, chest. The campaign was at least briefly a trending topic on Twitter in Los Angeles, inspiring the sardonic and the serious to chime in. Here are a few of the better reasons given: Read More »

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LA Mayor Joins Musicians Union In Anti-Runaway Production Campaign

By | Wednesday June 11, 2014 @ 1:28pm PDT

CAST 16th From Slavery To Freedom GalaLos Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti has joined the American Federation of Musicians’ Listen Up! campaign to keep film companies from sending their film scoring jobs overseas. “I’m fighting for good paying middle-class jobs across California,” Garcetti said in a statement released by the musicians union, “and our work to pass legislation, which will boost production and music scoring, must be with that goal in mind.” The musicians union wants producers AFM_logowho receive tax incentives in the U.S. to be required to score their films in the U.S. Garcetti has taken a leading role in advocating for the passage of AB 1839, the bill that would expand the state’s film incentive program and increase incentives for film soundtrack recording in California. The mayor, who was recently made an honorary member of L.A.’ Musicians Local 47, said during his induction ceremony that “when companies go outside the United States and make $150 million, $450 million, a half a billion off a film but can’t pay some union musicians here in Los Angeles, that’s wrong.” On his first visit as mayor to Sacramento last week, Garcetti lobbied for passage of AB 1839.

Related: E3: Add Game Companies To CA Tax Incentives? Maybe, Says Mayor
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E3: Add Video Game Companies To CA Tax Incentives? Maybe, Says Mayor

By | Tuesday June 10, 2014 @ 1:26pm PDT

E3 logoWelcoming the giant E3 video game conference back to Los Angeles today, Mayor Eric Garcetti said it may make sense to include the booming game industry in production incentives designed to get and keep film and television production in the state. “There’s a collision of content in Los Angeles,” said Garcetti, who has been heavily involved trying to persuade state officials to enhance the CAST 16th From Slavery To Freedom GalaCalifornia incentive program to keep more entertainment production. “The line between video games software and film/TV is blurring. They all have stories, they all use (similar production tools and processes) in the same way. L.A. is poised to take off. But it’s why we need those tax incentives in place.” Gov. Jerry Brown has stayed mum on a proposed expansion of the current $100 million California system, despite aggressive efforts by some other states and countries to lure away film and TV work with substantial tax breaks.

Related: City Of LA Praises Passage Of New Film & TV Tax Credit Bill

Garcetti used a ribbon-cutting ceremony to tout the budding economic recovery in Los Angeles in the year he’s been in office, particularly for creative industries. “This is the most creative spot in the world,” he said. “E3 has long been at that intersection of the creative world. In L.A., a new tech company starts every 40 hours. But long before this new boom, E3 understood. We are on fire and E3 is part of that momentum.” The conference officially opened at noon today and runs through Thursday evening. Already, several of the big game-related companies have held their big pre-show media briefings.

Related: E3: Games Frontrunner Sony To Launch $99 PlayStation TV, More

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California Mayors Back Expansion Of State’s Film & TV Tax Credit Program

california-tax-credits3__120901092343__120929195413__131031165021__131112185634__140109040050__140219155328__140424175515__140501004243Efforts to expand California’s $100 million Film and TV Tax Credit Program got a boost today from LA Mayor Eric Garcetti and the mayors of the state’s nine other biggest cities. “Extending California’s film and television production tax credit program is a smart, prudent investment in California’s future and economic competitiveness” said Garcetti and the mayors of San Francisco Sacramento, Long Beach, Fresno, San Diego, Bakersfield, Santa Ana, Oakland and San Jose today in a letter (read it here). “In order to once again be competitive, California must put in place a meaningful, expanded credit that will bring back jobs, increase revenue, and support small businesses and vendors all across the state. Too much is at stake for the people of California to let this key industry slip away.”

Analyst Throws Cold Water On California Film & TV Tax Credit Expansion
Official Dodges Governor’s Stance On Film & TV Tax Credit

The desire of the 10 Mayors to curb runaway production was expressed in writing to Assemblymen Mike Gatto (D-Los Angeles) and Raul Bocanegra (D-Pacoima). The duo are co-authors of the multi-sponsored Film and Television Job Creation and Retention Act. Introduced on February 19, the legislation proposes allowing pics with budgets of more than $75 million and network pilots to now be eligible for state tax incentives, among other measures. In an attempt to make this a statewide issue and not just an LA matter, the act also proposes an additional 5% credit to productions shot outside Southern California. No dollar figure has been attached to the legislation, but figures in the realm of $300 million-$400 million have been advocated by industry leaders. Sources tell me a figure should be named sometime this month. Having been unanimously approved by the state Assembly’s Arts, Entertainment, Sports, Tourism, And Internet Media committee on March 25, the proposed act goes today to the Bocanergra-chaired Assembly Revenue and Taxation Committee for a hearing. Though he signed the last extension to the current program in 2012, Gov. Jerry Brown has not yet indicated whether he is in favor of expanding the program.

Related: New Film & TV Tax Credit Bill Unanimously Passes First Hurdle

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Cable Show: LA Mayor Makes Plea For Resolution To Dodgers TV Dispute

By | Tuesday April 29, 2014 @ 12:39pm PDT

garcetti ncta cable show“I’m calling on all participants to resolve this so we can get our hometown Dodgers,”  LA Mayor Eric Garcetti said during his welcoming address to the NCTA Cable Show at the Convention Center downtown. The team is embroiled in carriage disputes that is keeping it off-air to many Angelenos who do not have Time Warner Cable, which distributes the Dodgers-owned SportsNet LA and is asking carriers for a steep fee to carry it. “We love the Dodgers and we love Time Warner,” Garcetti said with TWC CEO Rob Marcus in the building, the mayor noting that he actually has no power to force a resolution through anything except persuasion.

TWC Chief Says Subs Coming Over For Dodgers Channel
Time Warner Cable, DirecTV In Stalemate Over Dodgers Channel

Dodgers SportsNetGarcetti had a busy day. Before he stepped out to participate in a press conference following LA Clippers owner Donald Sterling’s lifetime ban from the NBA for making racist comments, the mayor welcomed Cable Show attendees to “the creative capital of the world.” He noted his efforts to halt runaway production and bringing more film and TV back to Hollywood. “As other states offer incentives, we are pushing hard to have California expand its jobs programs,” he said of legislation inching its way through the state Assembly to evolve California’s current $100 million Film and TV Tax Credit program.

Related: Cable Show: ESPN President Rips Streaming Services
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L.A. Mayor Praises “Dear Friend” Tom Sherak In State Of The City Speech

garcetti april 10 speechThe city’s first Film Czar was praised by LA Mayor Eric Garcetti today in his inaugural State of the City address. “With the help of my dear friend the late Tom Sherak and Ken Ziffren, who’s continued the fight, we reignited the movement to expand film tax credits in Sacramento,” said the SAG-AFTRA card carrying politician this evening. A couple of months after Garcetti took office, the former AMPAS president and studio exec was named head of LA’s Film Office late last September in an effort to expand and evolve production in the city after years of decline due to runaway production. After

sherak__130926172434Sherak passed away on January 28, heavyweight entertainment lawyer Ziffren was appointed LA’s second Film Czar on February 10. “In just nine months, we are changing the landscape—one summer job, one red button, one film production and one balanced budget at a time.”

L.A. Move For Colbert’s ‘Late Show’ Unlikely As Pols Continue To Pitch CBS
New Film & TV Tax Credit Bill Unanimously Passes First Hurdle In Sacramento

One production that looks pretty likely not to be coming to LA is CBS’ Late Show when Stephen Colbert takes over from David Letterman next year. Despite personal pitches earlier this week from Garcetti and Ziffren, the late night show seems certain to stay in the Big Apple. Still, Garcetti also made a point in his speech at the California Science … Read More »

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LA Mayor & Film Czar Pitch Les Moonves On Moving Post-Letterman ‘Late Show’ West

By | Tuesday April 8, 2014 @ 6:17pm PDT

TCA Summer Press Tour 2013EXCLUSIVE: Will Les Moonves have to install a party line? One day after getting a call from NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio urging the CBS boss to keep Late Show in the City That Never Sleeps after David Letterman steps down next year, I’ve learned that Moonves got a call today from LA Mayor Eric Garcetti and Film Czar Ken Ziffren imploring him to bring the late-night franchise to the West Coast. The three spoke this afternoon, I’m told.

Related: NYC Mayor Called Les Moonves Directly To Keep Post-Letterman ‘Late Show’ In Big Apple

Of course, this isn’t the first time Garcetti has tried to persuade Moonves to put the City of Angels in his late-night President Obama Announces First Five "Promise Zones" To Battle PovertyKen Ziffren1future. On the day Letterman announced that he would be retiring in 2015, the SAG-AFTRA card-carrying mayor wrote to the CBS chief on the matter of Letterman’s successor and where that show would be located. “I am excited for the opportunity to encourage you to bring CBS’ next late-night show to our city — the entertainment capital of the world,” Garcetti wrote to Moonves on April 3.

Related: David Letterman Through The Years: Video

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LA Mayor Urges CBS To Bring Letterman Successor’s Show To West Coast

President Obama Announces First Five "Promise Zones" To Battle PovertyBurbank may have recently lost NBC’s The Tonight Show to NYC after 40 years, but LA’s mayor now wants CBS to make the City of Angels the home of the replacement to Late Show With David Letterman. In a letter today to CBS boss Les Moonves after David Letterman announced that he will retire next year, Mayor Eric Garcetti urged him “to bring CBS’ next late night show to our city.” With shows and features deserting LA in droves in the past decade, Garcetti has made stabilizing and increasing film & TV production in the city a TCA Summer Press Tour 2013top priority for his still fairly new administration. The mayor created a Film Czar office and has been advocating an expansion of California’s current $100 million Film and TV Tax Credit program. Having said that, LA still has some late-night skin in the game with Letterman’s lead-out Craig Ferguson, Conan O’Brien’s TBS show, Arsenio Hall, and ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live, but getting CBS to set down more post-primetime roots here would be a real though unlikely coup for the city post-Letterman. Here is Garcetti’s full letter to Moonves:

L.A. Mayor, Production Alliance Cheer New Film/TV Tax Credit Legislation
Watch David Letterman Announce His Retirement
David Letterman Through The Years: Video

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L.A. Mayor & Production Alliance Applaud New Film/TV Tax Credit Legislation

By | Wednesday February 19, 2014 @ 11:42am PST

Related: California Pols Unveiling Bill Today To Expand Film & TV Tax Credit Program

cali film tv logoJust hours after a new multi-sponsored bill to expand California’s current $100 million Film and TV Tax Credit program was introduced today in Sacramento both the state’s Production Alliance and LA Mayor Eric Garcetti have come out in strong support. Garcetti, who formed the city’s Entertainment Industry and Production office last year and vowed to “storm” the state capitol to improve the state’s incentives, praised “Assemblymembers Gatto and Bocanegra for taking the lead on enhancing this important program.” The Alliance, which includes the MPAA, SAG-AFTRA and the Teamsters, said that it “welcomed the introduction of AB 1839.” While the new bill seeks to let blockbusters and network TV shows now be eligible for the lottery rewarded program, no actual figure has been given yet – though as Deadline’s scoop on the bill this morning said, sources tell me the politicians and the industry are aiming for $400 million. Whether they get it is another matter. In the meantime, check out Mayor Garcetti and the Alliance’s statements below:

Mayor Garcetti’s Statement on Film Incentive Legislation
This legislation represents a prudent investment in the future of California’s middle class, and its widespread geographic and bipartisan support reflects its importance to our statewide economy. It comes at a critical moment, when other states and foreign countries are luring away thousands of jobs and millions of dollars in revenues

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UPDATE: It’s Official – Lawyer Ken Ziffren Named New LA Film Czar

By | Monday February 10, 2014 @ 1:13pm PST

UPDATE, 1:13 PM: LA Mayor Eric Garcetti today made official what I exclusively revealed Saturday to Deadline readers: Hollywood heavyweight attorney Ken Ziffren will be the head of the City of LA’s Entertainment Industry and Production office. The card-carrying SAG-AFTRA member Garcetti said that Ziffren will be “a powerful leader in our fight against other states that are taking our jobs, and he will be aggressive about streamlining government so red tape doesn’t contribute to driving production away.” Ziffren takes over from former AMPAS president and studio exec Tom Sherak. who died January 28. See today’s full release below the original story.

Related: R.I.P. Tom Sherak

PREVIOUS EXCLUSIVE, SATURDAY PM: Los Angeles is about to get its second Film Czar. Mayor Eric Garcetti has decided on Ken Ziffren for the job he created last fall and the powerhouse entertainment attorney has accepted the gig, I’ve learned.  Ziffren will step into the position vacated by the death of the city’s first Film Czar Tom Sherak. The former AMPAS president and studio exec passed away from cancer on January 28. A formal announcement of Ziffren’s appointment to head the Entertainment Industry and Production office is expected to come from the Mayor’s office early next week, sources tell me.
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LA Mayor Promises To “Storm” Sacramento To Increase State Film/TV Tax Credit

Eric Garcetti said today at the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce’s second annual State of the Industry Conference that he is serious about getting state politicians to expand California’s $100 million annual Film/TV Tax Credit program. “We are going to go to Sacramento and storm that place like you’ve never seen before,” L.A.’s mayor said. In place since 2009, the current program “should be expanded because it makes good business sense,” he added. Garcetti also told the crowd that he wanted to launch a campaign to show people how production in LA benefits all businesses in the city. His remarks came after various speakers from both the industry and Sacramento criticized the current $100 million annual lottery system program as unstable, unrealistic and providing too little money. 

Related: Paramount Exec Blasts State’s “Incremental” Tax Credit Program

“We can reverse this,” said LA Film Czar Tom Sherak today of runaway production after being introduced by the mayor. “Can we reverse it 100%? No, but we can reverse some production from going to other states, other cities and other countries,” he added. While offering no specifics, the former AMPAS President stressed — as he has before — that the heart of his argument is middle-class jobs.
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Film Czar Tom Sherak: Plan To Boost LA Production Coming By Early 2014

In his first civic event since being named LA’s Film Czar last month, Tom Sherak today said he intends to have a plan to increase production in the city around the beginning of next year. “My job is to get the lions of industry, people I’ve known for years, to come up with a plan that I can take to the mayor and we can take to Sacramento,” he said during a signing ceremony with Mayor Eric Garcetti, politicians and others at Raleigh Studios. The optics of the day were clear: The public event was for the inking of the city’s recently passed ordinance to waive fees for pilot productions in LA — a law Garcetti authored for the City Council before the mayoral election — and marked the first signing ceremony of his new administration. Runaway production has emerged as a high-profile issue for the mayor and Hollywood is one of his major constituencies. The event attracted such industry reps as PGA chief Mark Gordon, Sons Of Anarchy actor Ron Perlman, producer Dean Devlin, Bad Robot partner Bryan Burk, ABC Studios SVP Production Gary French, Paramount Film Group president Adam Goodman, SAG-AFTRA Executive Director Ilyanne Morden Kichaven, and Good Robot’s Rebecca Goldman.

Related: LA Production Sees Another Boost: FilmLA

Sherak, meanwhile, also told Deadline that he is talking to a high-profile industry individual to serve … Read More »

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City Council Passes Measure To Waive Fees On TV Pilots Filmed In Los Angeles

By | Tuesday October 15, 2013 @ 9:32pm PDT

Think Mayor Eric Garcetti‘s going to sign this legislation? Hint: He co-authored it. The LA City Council voted unanimously today to approve the final version of a measure aimed at luring more TV pilots to the city. It will waive municipal fees on pilot production, continuing Garcetti’s pro-filming stance that is catnip to his constituency. The move comes week after FilmLA reported that Los Angeles saw more on-location filming for a third consecutive quarter. But attracting more pilots has been a priority for the city, following the June release of FilmLA’s latest TV Pilot Production Report. It noted that, while production was up in terms of dollars spent and filming days, LA has been losing market share — down to 52%, off nearly double digits from 2012. Today’s move by the City Council follows its approval of an unpolished version of the pilot-production fee-waiver measure in February.

Tom Sherak Named As LA Film Czar By Mayor
LA Production Sees Double Digit Rise Over Q1 2012: FilmL.A.

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Tom Sherak Named As LA Film Czar By Mayor

By | Thursday September 26, 2013 @ 10:07am PDT

BREAKING… The former AMPAS President today was appointed to the new LA Film Czar post by Mayor Eric Garcetti. The announcement of Tom Sherak‘s immediate appointment to the $1 a year position comes close to the 100 day deadline Garcetti gave himself to find someone to lead the effort to halt runaway production and work with the industry soon after being sworn into office in late June. “Tom will lead our campaign for production incentives in Sacramento and is empowered to work across city departments to make L.A. the best possible location for production,” the LA Mayor said in a statement Thursday. The appointment of the former Academy chief and Fox exec comes just hours after Garcetti told delegates at SAG-AFTRA’s national convention that he intended “to make sure we bring production back to LA” at a reception on Wednesday night. “The entertainment industry has a true champion in Mayor Garcetti, and I’m honored to work with him to make sure L.A. is always the entertainment capital of the world,” said Sherak today of the SAG-AFTRA card-carry politician. Having said that, Sherak, who was AMPAS President from 2009 to 2012, will have an uphill battle with getting more money or tax credits out of Sacramento for LA. Gov. Jerry Brown has shown little appetite for increasing the state’s $100 million annual TV/Film tax credit program since signing the latest two-year extension on it back in the summer of 2012. … Read More »

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Comcast Entertainment Group Defends Its Position On Writers Unionization Efforts

Nellie Andreeva

For the past couple of months, Comcast has been embroiled into a standoff with the WGA over efforts by writers on shows for Comcast Entertainment Group’s E!, Style and G4 networks to get union coverage. The war of words between the two sides, in which  the WGA had  accused Comcast of sabotaging its employees’ attempts to go union and Comcast had insisted that the WGA followed the lengthy NLRB procedure, escalated on Tuesday when the WGA announced that Comcast writers had voted overwhelmingly for WGA representation in a secret ballot election monitored and certified by the office of L.A. City Council President Eric Garcetti. Moments later, Comcast dismissed the vote as a “non-binding poll.” This afternoon, Comcast Entertainment Group brass sent out a company-wide e-mail explaining its position on the matter. Here it is

Recently, there has been a lot said surrounding the Writer’s Guild of America West’s desire to represent the writers on some of the shows which air on E!, Style and G4.   We wanted you to hear directly from your leadership team on this.

Let’s begin with a simple fact. The company respects the rights of our employees to decide if they wish to be represented by a union or not. For 75 years, the process of union representation has been handled by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), which is an independent federal agency created to safeguard employees’ rights to organize. The NLRB provides a process and determines which employees are in a voting unit and how many units may be within a company. The NLRB then also oversees the secret ballot election.  We support this process as it is the one way to guarantee fairness. You should know that over the years, the WGA has relied on the NLRB process in its organizing activities.  In fact, last year, the WGA West filed three petitions for elections with the NLRB.  We have urged the WGA West to file a petition with the NLRB so that a binding secret ballot election, overseen by the NLRB, can take place.  The WGA West has refused to do this and instead has demanded that E!, Style and G4 immediately recognize the WGAW as the representative of our writers.

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