On-location filming in Los Angeles increased by 15.4% year-over-year during the third quarter, helped in part by eight feature film shoots in the region that were supported by the California Film & Television Tax Credit. The films — which include Warner Bros’ Ben Affleck-directed Argo and period L.A. mob pic Gangster Squad, as well as Screen Gems’ Steve Harvey book adaptation Think Like A Man — certainly help the industry’s case when it comes to touting the value of the state tax credit, an annual $100 million program that recently was renewed for one year rather than a hoped-for five years after it was hacked back by the state Senate in committee. Overall, since its 2009 launch the program has brought $3.8B in economic output and supported 20,040 jobs — and elevates quarterly on-location production numbers like the ones released today by FilmL.A.
Also during the third quarter, non-tax-credit films like Oliver Stone’s Savages contributed to the feature production uptick — the sector grew 49.9% compared with last year. TV production grew 5.8% in the quarter but wasn’t helped by a slide in drama as Los Angeles lost 10 one-hour series this season. “Unfortunately, our summer prediction of diminished third quarter TV drama production was spot-on,” FilmL.A. president Paul Audley said. “While the California state incentive brought six television dramas to Los Angeles this quarter, we’ve seen other jurisdictions capture an unusually high number of these economically beneficial projects.”
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.
Kelly Lynch, Seymour Cassel and Danny Huston have been added to the cast of Starz’s upcoming drama series Magic City, which starts filming this week in Miami. The series, set in 1950s Miami, was created by Mitch Glazer and stars Jeffrey Dean Morgan. Here’s Starz’s start-of-production release:
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Chris Albrecht has been unloading assets since he took over Starz as president and CEO last December. Following the July deal with Relativity for Overture, Starz has now found a buyer for its Film Roman, the animation studio behind The Simpsons. Starz has been focusing on its core TV network business, building the channels’ original slate. It continues to operate Anchor Bay Entertainment.
October 11, 2010 – Starz Media, LLC, has reached an agreement to sell its animation studio Film Roman to a group of investors lead by former Film Roman President Scott D. Greenberg. The deal was announced today by Starz, LLC, President and Chief Executive Officer Chris Albrecht, and Greenberg. The terms of the deal will not be disclosed.
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Great news for Big Bang fans: injured star Kaley Cuoco is expected to return to work in time for the taping on Oct. 13, which means that she will only miss 2 episodes – the one whose taping was right after her horse-riding accident and the one that is currently in production, following the show’s 2-week hiatus. It hasn’t been decided yet if Cuoco’s broken leg will be incorporated into the show.
Meanwhile, there is more romance in store for Jim Parsons’ Sheldon. Mayim Bialik, who guest starred as the nerdy Amy in Big Bang‘s last season’s finale and this season’s premiere, has been booked for additional episodes and is expected to recur this season, the series’ fourth.
EXCLUSIVE: I hear that MTV’s president of programming Tony DiSanto and his top lieutenant, SVP series development Liz Gateley, will be leaving the network to form a production company that will focus on film as well as scripted and unscripted television. I hear Ben Silverman’s Electus, backed by Barry Diller’s IAC, will own a stake in the new company which has already lined up a number of commitments, including some from MTV. Meanwhile, former WB entertainment president David Janollari, who joined MTV in January as EVP scripted development, will most likely be elevated to a top programming position at the channel. Janollari, who may not inherit DiSanto’s president of programming title, would probably oversee series but not specials, news and events. I hear Janollari has been offered the job and has until tomorrow to accept, which he is expected to do. DiSanto and Gateley are expected to stay through the end of the year to help with the transition. Read More »
An ambulance and a fire truck were called to CBS TV City this afternoon after an audience member on Dancing with the Stars and a crew member on another series that films there, The Price Is Right fell ill. It wasn’t clear if the illnesses were heat-related but the probability is high, with thermometers hitting 113 F in Downtown Los Angeles today. There are no reports that production on either show was interrupted by the accidents.
Almost 4 months after Paris-based Zodiak Entertainment closed a deal to acquire U.K.’s RDF Media Group, creating the third largest independent TV production company in the world, the combined company has established an American outpost. RDF USA has merged with Zodiak Entertainment US to become Zodiak USA with offices in Los Angeles and New York. Zodiak USA will inherit the entire RDF USA senior management team led by RDF USA CEO Grant Mansfield, who will become CEO of Zodiak USA, and chief creative officer Natalka Znak. Zodiak Entertainment US had a small U.S. office, and nobody from it will transition to the new company. As a result of the merger, Zodiak USA will now have access to formats from companies in over 20 countries. Because Zodiak distributes mainly scripted product while RDF’s focus was on reality programming, Zodiak USA is looking to hire a drama executive to handle the new volume of scripted projects coming through the Zodiak international pipeline.