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Pilot Locations 2014: New York Production Rises, Los Angeles Plummets,Texas Hot

By | Tuesday March 4, 2014 @ 4:20pm PST
Nellie Andreeva

FilmLightingEquipmentLowerBroadwayNYC060709While California Gov. Jerry Brown is still “not committed” to expanding the state’s film and TV tax credit, Los Angeles is seeing another drop in broadcast pilot production to what appears to be an all-time low. Meanwhile, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has been doing photo ops with Disney and Marvel execs to celebrate their commitment to film some 60 episodes of Marvel’s four Netflix series and a miniseries in the Big Apple. And now New York, which also lured The Tonight Show franchise away from Los Angeles, has more reasons to celebrate after another very strong pilot performance, returning this year to the top as the most popular drama location and reinforcing its strong position in comedy.

Marvel New YorkA record 15 broadcast pilots will be filming in New York this year, including 10 — almost a third — of the 34 drama pilot/direct-to-series projects filming within the regular cycle that have set their locations (two remain TBD). That is up from 13 total and eight dramas last year and just shy of the city’s all-time drama record of 11 in 2012. (Keep in mind that the number of NY-based was zero just four years ago, before the state implemented its aggressive tax break program.) New York is chipping away at Los Angeles’ comedy dominance. LA used to own the comedy space, with virtually every pilot filming here. Just two years ago, it housed 100% of the broadcast comedy pilots. The percentage dropped to 89% last year and is at 85% (39 out of 46) this season. New York made a big move in the arena in 2013 after seven years of no major broadcast comedy pilot presence there. A whopping five broadcast half-hour pilots were filmed in the city last year, including straight-to-series The Michael J. Fox Show. Proving that that wasn’t a fluke, New York matched its comedy haul this year with another five pilots, including NBC’s straight-to-series Tooken. Like last year, all five are single-camera. What’s more, a hybrid comedy, How I Met Your Dad, which is filming the pilot in Los Angeles, will move to New York if it goes to pilot. In most cases, the NY location is talent-driven (Irreversible star David Schwimmer, Dead Boss‘ Jane Krakowski, How I Met Your Dad star Greta Gerwig, Lowell and Gaffigan are all based in NY). But studios wouldn’t have been as open to setting shop in New York had the tax incentives not been strong enough to rein in production costs on comedies, especially the expensive single-camera format, which are still higher than a Los Angeles-based half-hour pilot but not by much. One drawback of comedy series filming in New York has been the shortage of writing talent as broadcast shows have to compete with such cable comedies as Louie and Girls, but with New York-based comedy production appearing to be here to stay, more writing talent may relocate there to support them.

Related: Culver Studios To Shutter After Sale; Condos Next?

Read More »

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National Magazine Awards Unveiled

By | Friday May 3, 2013 @ 9:10am PDT

New York was named Magazine of The Year by the American Society of Magazine Editors last night, while National Geographic took four Ellies, including a pair for digital media. Among the notables honored: The Mother Jones exclusive that featured the now-infamous “Romney 47 percent” video that helped define the 2012 presidential election won in the Video category, and The Atlantic won for Website. Stephen King won his second National Magazine Award, this one for the Harper’s Magazine fiction piece “Batman and Robin Have an Altercation”. Here’s the full list of winners:


Magazine of the Year
New York
Adam Moss, Editor in Chief
Ben Williams, Online Editorial Director

May 28, October 22 and November 12 Print and iPad Editions Read More »

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NY Governor Touts ‘Spider-Man 2′ As State’s Biggest Film Production Ever

Hollywood studios rarely disclose lots of details about spending plans for their big-budget productions. But Sony is making an exception for The Amazing Spider-Man 2 to help New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo build his case for the production tax incentives that he wants to extend for five years. The movie should generate 3,500 jobs, cast 11,000 extras and occupy the biggest stage footprint ever seen in New York, the state says today. That’s “great news for our local communities and fans of the franchise,” Cuomo says. Long Island will benefit most. Spider-Man 2 will require “massive sets” at two facilities in Long Island (Grumman Studios and Gold Coast Studios) and one in Brooklyn (the Marcy Armory). About a third of the new jobs and extras will come from Long Island. In addition, the production will tap several local businesses to handle food and equipment. For example, it will pay Mobile on Demand Storage of NY $279,000 for container rentals, Pride Equipment Corporation $130,000 for crane rentals, U.S. Coffee $32,000 for beverages, Quick Auto Parts $19,000 for auto parts, and Bagelboss $16,000 for food. The production will need 3,000 hotel room nights in Bethpage and Plainview, and another 3,000 in Rochester. Sony expects the shoot to last 150 days, with 50 in Bethpage and as many as 15 in Rochester. On Friday, the producers will look for specific locations in Rochester, including one for a car chase. Read More »

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Post Production Work In New York Rises From The State’s Higher Tax Breaks

By | Wednesday November 28, 2012 @ 11:45am PST

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Office for Motion Picture and Television Development is taking a victory lap today, saying that tax breaks the administration supported resulted in a record 24 film and TV productions that plan to do their post production work in the Empire State. In July the state increased the post production credit to as much as 30% from 10% for work in and around New York City, and to 35% for other parts of the state. The number of projects queued up for relief under the new terms is higher than the total applications from the previous two years. That’s “proof positive that the post incentive is working exactly as we hoped it would,” says Yana Collins Lehman, co-founder and executive board member of the Post New York Alliance. New applicants include a film starring Kristen Wiig and Guy Pearce, called Hateship Friendship Courtship Loveship Marriage. Outlays for post production projects vary but go as high as $2.5M.

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Station Buy Give CBS Duopoly In NY Market

By | Monday December 12, 2011 @ 9:55am PST

CBS Television Stations said today that it has inked a deal to acquire independent New York station WLNY-TV, giving CBS two stations in the nation’s largest media market. When the deal is approved, it will mark the 10th duopoly in 10 U.S. cities for CBS, joining Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Dallas, San Francisco, Boston, Detroit, Miami, Sacramento and Pittsburgh. “The combined strengths of CBS 2 and WLNY-TV will give us a terrific platform for serving the entire New York area,” CBS TV Stations president Peter Dunn said in the release announcing the deal. “Our plans for the station include adding people and resources to fuel a significant expansion of local news programming well beyond the nightly half-hour that currently airs.” WLNY is distributed in the New York-New Jersey-Connecticut tri-state area and on Long Island, where an expanded news bureau is expected. The station generated $3.8M in revenue last year, a tiny amount in the huge market, according to research firm BIA/Kelsey. But Wells Fargo analyst Marci Ryvicker calls the agreement “a smart, tuck-in acquisition that should provide some significant upside opportunities” for CBS. Duopolies typically generate more profit than stand-alone stations, she says, and WLNY has a lot of room to grow — especially if CBS makes it a player in local news.

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New York Production Incentives Paying Off, According To Labor Statistics Cited By MPAA

By | Thursday December 1, 2011 @ 1:35am PST

The motion picture and TV production industry is responsible for more than 141,000 jobs in New York, according to an analysis of data recently released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics which covers the year 2010. The MPAA highlighted the analysis in an announcement Wednesday. Figures cited include direct production-related jobs as well as indirect jobs in businesses working with the production industry. Core production jobs covered in the 2010 jobs report of the New York State Comptroller are up to 43,000, an increase of 20% from the 2008 figure cited in that report (36,000), and an increase of 22% over 2009. Production slowed in 2009 due to uncertainty about the state tax incentive program. With additional production-related jobs not captured in the core data, the number of direct jobs reaches 48,690, up 13% (nearly 5,600 jobs) over 2009. Annual job growth between 2009 and 2010 in New York State was flat (0%) and nationwide was down 1%. Read More »

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UTA to Open New York Office, Nancy Gates First Agent To Move From LA To NY

By | Friday August 26, 2011 @ 5:29pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

UTA is going bi-coastal. The talent agency is planning to open a New York office in November. The agency has signed a lease for office space in the 888 Seventh Avenue building near 57th street and is currently renovating its new digs. The first UTA agent to make the cross-country move is Nancy Gates, the L.A.-based co-head of TV Talent, who is relocating to New York. She will be joined by alternative television agent Alison Wallach and talent agent Steven Fisher, who recently left ICM. In addition to moving agents from LA, UTA also plans to make several new agent hires for the New York office, which will cover film and television and beef up UTA’s presence in theater, digital media and corporate consulting. UTA was the only major talent agency not to have a New York office, with WME, ICM, Gersh, Innovative Artists among those who have New York-based agents. But while it did not have a dedicated New York office, UTA has had a toehold in the Big Apple through its joint venture United Entertainment Group, which launched in 2007 and focuses on branded entertainment.

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NY Mayor Touts Big Apple’s TV Business

By | Monday August 22, 2011 @ 12:09pm PDT

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg today visited the set of ABC’s period drama Pan Am at Steiner Studios, located in the Brooklyn Navy Yard, to trumpet the record 23 TV series being filmed in New York City this season. “A show like Pan Am employs 400 people behind the scenes and generates activity for our local economy at places like lumberyards, fabric stores and coffee shops,” he said. “We’re working to strengthen and diversify New York City’s economy and create jobs, and our thriving entertainment industry is a prime example of those efforts paying off.” The city’s entertainment industry adds more than $5 billion to the economy annually, with an estimated 100,000 New Yorkers working in the business. New York also hosts 140 news programs, talk shows and reality series, and last year 200 films were shot on location there. During today’s press conference, Bloomberg was joined buy NY Media & Entertainment commissioner Katherine Oliver and Steiner Studios chairman Douglas Steiner, among others.

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Man Threatens To Jump Off New York’s 30 Rock Before Surrendering

By | Wednesday August 10, 2011 @ 7:19pm PDT

The usual bustle in the streets and sidewalks around New York’s famed Rockefeller Plaza was halted for about an hour this afternoon after an unidentified man scaled the glass wall of the building’s 66th-story observation deck and threatened to jump. Police and fire officials blocked off parts of 5th Avenue and West 50th St. as the man perched on the building’s ledge; he eventually surrendered to authorities, but not before throwing several items to the street below. An NBC producer told the New York Daily News that 30 Rock’s most famous tenant, NBC, had a live feed of the scene showing in one of the network’s newsrooms. “The office was incapable of working once we caught wind of this guy,” he said.

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New Series Locations Update: NY Has Stellar Year, But LA Gains With Post-Upfront Moves

By | Thursday June 9, 2011 @ 7:01pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

UPDATED: New York killed it this pilot season. Not only did the Big Apple go from zero drama pilots being filmed there last year to nine following the August 2010 vote to extend and expand the state’s Film Production Tax Credit Program, it also attracted some of the strongest pilots. Out of the nine hourlong pilots filmed in New York, eight — NBC’s Smash and Prime Suspect, CBS’ Person of Interest, Unforgettable (formerly Rememberer), A Gifted Man (formerly Untitled Susannah Grant), The 2-2 (formerly Rookies) and Ringer and ABC’s Pan Am — went to series, with Ringer moving to CW. Of the 11 shot in Los Angeles, only two, NBC’s Awake (formerly REM) and ABC’s Scandal, were picked up to series. However, when the dust settled after the upfronts, six newly picked up drama series moved production to Los Angeles, including Ringer and Prime Suspect, giving LA a 8-to-6 edge over New York.

While California’s TV tax credit does not apply to new broadcast series (it does to broadcast series filming elsewhere that want to move to LA, which triggered the upcoming relocation of ABC’s Body of Proof from Providence to LA), uncertainty over the future of such credits in other states, including Texas, probably played a part in some moves to LA, including that of ABC’s Good Christian Belles, whose pilot was shot in Dallas. In all, six new series will film in LA after shooting their pilots elsewhere: GCB, ABC’s Revenge and CW’s Hart of Dixie (both moving from North Carolina, where the pilots were filmed), Fox’s Bones spinoff The Finder (from Miami) and Prime Suspect and Ringer (from New York). The reasons for the moves vary from project to project. Both The Finder and Bones are created/exec produced and run by Hart Hanson. To avoid having Hanson shuttling cross-country between LA, where Bones is produced, and Miami, filming of The Finder was brought to Hollywood, giving Hanson better oversight of both shows. Still, because The Finder is set in Miami and the city’s look is an important part of the show, the series’ crew plans several trips to Florida a year, with one day of production on each episode slated to take place in Miami. Read More »

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Woody Allen To Shoot In Rome This Time

By | Monday March 7, 2011 @ 3:47pm PST
Mike Fleming

Last time we heard from Woody Allen, he complained that he could no longer afford to shoot films in New York, his former exclusive canvas. In an interview with his new hometown newspaper La Republicca, Allen divulged he’ll shoot his next film in Rome: “I love these sophisticated cities,” he enthused. “It’s fantastic to have the possibility to work there, like when I shot Manhattan in New York, Match Point in London and Vicky Cristina Barcelona in Barcelona … Each time, it’s like a declaration of love for certain places. I project onto the big screen my feelings for places which count a lot in my life. I hope to do the same thing with Rome.”

While some Gotham-ites might react bitterly to seeing Allen so far from home, I think his films got dramatically better when he left New York and that his writing and shooting have been revived considerably by the change in locale.

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Woody Allen Can’t Afford To Shoot In New York But Gotham’s Okay Without Him

By | Tuesday August 24, 2010 @ 4:11pm PDT
Mike Fleming

Woody Allen has undoubtedly bruised some feelings in the New York film community by telling journalists in Madrid today that he shoots his films in Europe because New York’s too expensive for him.  But is has been his reality since he transplanted the plot of 2005′s Match Point to London. He gets more bang for his buck abroad.

“Woody’s right, it is much more expensive to shoot in New York than in Europe or even a city like Detroit,” said a production veteran who has made films with Allen in New York. “I don’t think Woody’s trying to give the city a face slap. This is more than ever a bottom line business. If the 30 shooting days his budget gives him in New York buys him 42 days in Spain, who can blame him for taking it? Outside New York and L.A., you can get a guy to drive a van for $250 a week. In New York, it’s $2000 a week. Spread the same markup over everything from carpenters to locations, hotels and sets, and you can see that filming in New York could add $5 million to Woody’s budget.”

Since Match Point, Allen has shot all but one of his subsequent pics—the 2009 Larry David New York-based comedy Whatever Works—in Europe. Cassandra’s Dream and Scoop were in London, Vicky Cristina Barcelona was Spain. The film he’s now promoting, You Read More »

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Frances McDormand Makes NY Stage Date

By | Wednesday July 7, 2010 @ 2:58pm PDT
Mike Fleming

69199366_ph1Fargo star Frances McDormand has become the latest film star to make stage plans. She’s committed to star in the Manhattan Theatre Club’s world premiere production of Good People, a play written by David Lindsay-Abaire and directed by Daniel Sullivan. The plan will open March 3 at MTC’s Samuel J. Friedman Theatre on West 47th Street. She’ll play a struggling South Boston woman who has lost another job and sees a potential end to her struggles in an old fling who has escaped the neighborhood and made his fortune. Lindsay-Abaire, one of the writers who took a crack at the Spider-Man 4 script before it was scrapped, won the Pulitzer for his play Rabbit Hole. McDormand’s previous stage turns include the Mike Nichols-directed The Country Girl,  the Stephen Daldry-directed Far Away, and turns as Stella and Blanche in different productions of A Streetcar Named Desire. Sullivan directed her in The Sisters Rosenzweig. McDormand has time to work on her Southie accent, but it’ll have to be good to erase the memory of her rural Minnesotan patter from Fargo, evident in Marg Gunderson lines like, “And I guess that was your accomplice, in the woodchipper.”

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Jeremy Irons Answers The ‘Margin Call’

Mike Fleming

jeremy-irons-20080715-436952Jeremy Irons is the final piece of an impressive cast for Margin Call, the indie film by director JC Chandor that is shooting in New York City. Irons is the chief executive of a financial firm in a 24-hour period during the first signs of the near collapse on Wall Street. Irons joins Kevin Spacey, Demi Moore, Zachary Quinto, Paul Bettany, Penn Badgley, Simon Baker, Stanley Tucci and Mary McDonnell. Chandor wrote the script, and Quinto is producing with his Before The Door Pictures partners Neal Dodson and Corey Moosa, and Benaroya Pictures’ Michael Benaroya and Robert Ogden Barnum and Joe Jenckes. Myriad Pictures is selling international territories on the film, with Myriad CEO Kirk D’Amico exec producing. The film is three weeks into its shoot.

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New York Streets Ready To Fake Again (…On Universal’s Hollywood Backlot)

By | Friday May 28, 2010 @ 2:32am PDT
Mike Fleming

Universal Studios has unveiled the restored New York streetback-lot location that burned down in a fire in June 2008. The lot, which consists of 13 city blocks of buildings, has been a tourist attraction and frequent location for commercials and films from The Sting to Blues Brothers. Get a look at the process behind the overhaul below known as The Phoenix Project. The Peter Jackson-created 360 3D King Kong attraction, replacing the original which also burned down, will open this summer.

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I’m Just Sayin’

By | Thursday May 20, 2010 @ 8:20am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

How is it that Big 3 network NBC held its presentation at a hotel ballroom and the CW, the smallest broadcast net, at Madison Square Garden. And how come CW was the only net at the upfronts to bring out a big music star, Katy Perry? Its big brother CBS had William Shatner on the Carnegie Hall stage and he didn’t even sing. Also, Katy Perry showed how it’s done, performing live on stage. (I’m looking at you, Glee kids.)

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Docu On Jimmy Breslin & NYC Newspapers

By | Tuesday May 18, 2010 @ 2:00pm PDT
Mike Fleming

breslinUPDATE: Former PR guy Dan Klores has spent the last decade making  documentaries on New York-centric subjects. So, natch, he’ll next focus his camera on Gotham’s Jimmy Breslin. Klores will begin work in September on Breslin: The Great One, which will simultaneously chronicle the rise of Breslin and the heyday of newspapers. It will also explore their struggle to stay relevant in the digital age and why no one has replaced Breslin as NYC’s dominant columnist. “He created the idea of a columnist who followed the news and personalized it, and his career expanded as newspapers did,” Klores said. “Now, he’s a man without a newspaper column, at a time when the role of newspapers has radically disintegrated in our culture.”

*May 31 - 00:05*Klores’ previous NY-centric docus include Winning Time: Reggie Miller Vs. The Knicks, Crazy Love and The Boys of 2nd Street Park. He planned to stop and focus on plays and features. (His Little Doc is set for a June 17 premiere at the off-Broadway Rattlestick Playwrights Theater. And he is signed to direct the rom-com movie Dance to the Music for Greenestreet.) But  Klores changed his mind after attending a Breslin tribute thrown by newspaper vets Pete Hamill and Sam Roberts. Klores is aiming for a 2012 Sundance Film Festival premiere.

Amazing as it may seem, younger generations don’t know Breslin. Brash and controversial, the quintessential born and bred New Yorker became a columnist at the New York Herald Read More »

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Don’t You Just LOVE The Upfronts?

By | Monday May 17, 2010 @ 6:43pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

There are so many things you can only see at the TV upfronts in New York. Like uber TV lit agents partying hearty together. See my snapshot below of CAA’s Adam Berkowitz with archenemy WME’s Ari Greenburg. Can you come up with a good caption?

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TV Upfront Presentations & Party Schedule

By | Sunday May 16, 2010 @ 2:27pm PDT

Sunday, May 16
8 PM-11 PM: 20th Century FOX Television & Entertainment Weekly
Cooper Square Hotel, 25 Cooper Square

9 PM: UTA Upfronts Party
Stone Rose Lounge @Time Warner Center, 10 Columbus Circle

Monday, May 17
11 AM: NBC presentation, New York Hilton Hotel, 1335 Avenue of the Americas
Lunch to follow; 9 PM Jeff Gaspin-hosted private party

4 PM: Fox presentation, The New Beacon Theatre, 2124 Broadway
5:30 PM: FBS Post-show party: Wollman Rink @Central Park, 59th St & 6th Ave

Tuesday, May 18
4 PM: ABC presentation, Avery Fisher Hall @Lincoln Center, 132 West 65th Street
No party

7;45 PM: WME private dinner for clients at Peter Luger Steakhouse

8 PM: Gersh cocktail reception, Juliette Supperclub

8 PM-11 PM: Instyle Magazine & ICM, 34 Greene Street @Soho

Wednesday, May 19
10 AM: TBS/TNT Presentation, Hammerstein Ballroom, 311 West 34th Street
12 PM-2:15 PM: TBS/TNT Press Lunch, Del Posto, 85 Tenth Avenue

4 PM: CBS Presentation, Carnegie Hall, 881 Seventh Ave @56th & 57th)
Reception immediately following at the Tent @Lincoln Center

9 PM: Adult Swim Upfront party, Gotham Hall, 1356 Broadway @36th St

Thursday, May 20
11 AM: CW presentation, Theater @Madison Square Garden, 31st St & 8th Ave
7 PM: CW Party, Abe & Arthurs, 409 West 14th Street

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