Los Angeles Business Journal

L.A. City Council Votes to Waive TV Pilot Filming Fees

By Howard Fine Tuesday, February 26, 2013

In a bid to stem the outflow of television pilot production, the Los Angeles City Council on Tuesday voted to waive all city fees for TV pilots and first-year series filmed in the city.

If Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa signs the ordinance, the fees would be waived if a substantial portion of the filming was done in Los Angeles. First year filming fees would only be waived if the series goes into a second year.

Councilman Eric Garcetti, now a mayoral candidate, introduced the motion last year in an attempt to slow the trend of pilot television production leaving the city. A decade ago, more than 90 percent of pilots were filmed in Los Angeles; by 2010, only slightly more than half were filmed here; the rest were filmed in New York, Canada and other cities and states that offered tax credits and other incentives.

City Chief Administrative Officer Miguel Santana estimated in a report to the Council that waiving the fees for pilot productions would cost the city at least $230,000 a year. Waiving the fees for first-year productions would cost the city’s general fund “an unknown larger amount.”

The council approved the ordinance 11-0 with four council members absent.