Spotlighting Industry Trends – FilmL.A.’s 2016 Pilot Production Study

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Earlier this month, FilmL.A. released its annual Pilot Production Report, which tracks where television pilots are produced each year.  FilmL.A.’s official count shows that 201 broadcast, cable and digital pilots (123 Dramas, 78 Comedies) were produced during the 2015-16 development cycle, just one less than the prior year.

Out of those 201 pilots, a total of 79 projects (25 Dramas, 54 Comedies) were filmed in the Los Angeles region, yielding an estimated $296 million in production spending.

In terms of project count, this represents a 13 percent drop from last year, when 91 pilot projects filmed in L.A. The decline can be attributed to a 23 percent year-over-year decrease in local comedy pilot production. Drama pilot production, on the other hand, increased appreciably over the same period.

After L.A., the top competitors for pilot production in 2015-16 were New York (28 pilots), Vancouver (25 pilots), Atlanta (15 pilots) and Toronto (12 pilots).

FilmL.A.’s 2016 report continues its examination of straight-to-series orders and digital pilot projects in production. A total of 57 network, cable and digital shows were ordered straight-to-series in the 2015-16 cycle. Cable networks put 24 shows into production, while digital networks, such as Amazon, Hulu© and Netflix, launched 22 shows.

“While we were disappointed to see a decline in local comedy pilot production, recent growth in drama pilot and series production is encouraging from the standpoint of overall area jobs and economic benefit,” said FilmL.A. President Paul Audley.

FilmL.A.’s report closes with a discussion of the drama series production landscape in California. Thanks to the state’s Film & Television Tax Credit Program, more primetime drama series are in production in California today than at any point since 2008. Half of the state’s 64 current drama series are incentive-qualified projects. The impact of these incentivized dramas (and Veep, a comedy on premium cable) is massive. According to spending and employment data provided by the California Film Commission, these series will have a direct production spend of $1.59 billion while shooting their current/upcoming season.

Spending and Hires, By Pilot
Project Title Total CA Spend Cast Crew Extras Project Type
TOTAL $1,592,159,000 5,444 6,467 135,884
13 Reasons Why 1 $49,400,000 80 175 7,150 Digital
American Crime 3 $35,623,000 75 175 960 Network
American Horror Story 6 $63,756,000 294 125 3,680 Basic Cable
Animal Kingdom 1 $33,000,000 171 150 1,980 Basic Cable
Animal Kingdom Pilot $6,058,000 24 150 560 Basic Cable
Citizen 1 $45,360,000 97 150 4,536 Digital
Citizen Pilot $9,656,000 30 150 1,898 Digital
Code Black 2 $53,300,000 248 195 10,894 Network
Crazy Ex Girlfriend 2 $39,073,000 8 260 20 Network
Famous in Love 1 $24,469,000 90 150 2,718 Basic Cable
Famous In Love Pilot $3,769,000 28 135 357 Basic Cable
Good Girls Revolt 1 $38,573,000 306 217 3,555 Digital
Heartbeat 1 $44,752,000 15 250 4,200 Network
I’m Dying Up Here 1 $47,368,000 172 120 3,582 Premium Cable
Mistresses 4 $23,333,000 112 125 2,531 Network
Pitch 1 $36,390,000 219 125 4,752 Network
Pitch Pilot $8,296,000 59 123 1,394 Network
Pure Genius 1 $48,941,000 33 190 4,272 Network
Pure Genius Pilot $6,816,000 33 190 604 Network
Rebel 1 $5,429,000 35 150 1,500 Basic Cable
Rebel Pilot $4,371,000 27 100 500 Basic Cable
Rosewood 2 $75,705,000 337 125 5,852 Network
Scream Queens 2 $61,891,000 246 125 6,783 Network
Secrets and Lies 2 $35,981,000 128 185 1,840 Network
Shooter 1 $32,872,000 62 175 2,223 Basic Cable
Snowfall 1 $38,140,000 263 122 2,290 Basic Cable
Snowfall Pilot $9,577,000 88 122 811 Basic Cable
Sweet/Vicious 1 $19,501,000 10 90 370 Basic Cable
This is Us 1 $42,977,000 248 125 2,784 Network
This Is Us Pilot $7,010,000 33 125 611 Network
Twin Peaks $41,162,000 153 140 1,122 Premium Cable
Veep 6 $56,369,000 466 195 4,260 Premium Cable
Westworld 1 $107,241,000 282 200 2,135 Premium Cable
Hit the Floor $36,000,000 28 115 6,100 Basic Cable
Major Crimes $68,000,000 21 171 2,860 Basic Cable
Murder in the First $44,000,000 72 240 3,930 Basic Cable
Pretty Little Liars $54,000,000 215 150 5,340 Basic Cable
Rizzoli & Isles $67,000,000 270 150 4,194 Basic Cable
Switched at Birth $56,000,000 156 192 8,325 Basic Cable
Teen Wolf $60,000,000 20 130 5,160 Basic Cable
Stitchers $51,000,000 190 185 7,251 Basic Cable

“The California Film and Television Tax Credit program has proven to be a vital tool in the fight against runaway production. And it is delivering results for the men and women who are the heart and soul of our entertainment industry — the people who swing the hammers, drive the trucks, run the cable, and serve the food on set,” said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti.

“This report contains a lot of good news, but it also shows that L.A. is still losing too many good jobs, and too much revenue, to other states. We must continue investing in the future middle class of this city, and commit ourselves to doing all we can to ensure that production stays where it belongs — right here, in the creative capital of the world.”

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