Mayor Garcetti Waiving TV Pilot Fees To Keep Production In L.A.

Good news for the TV industry: In an effort to keep TV production in Hollywood, Mayor Eric Garcetti signed an ordinance today that waives city fees for filming TV pilots in Los Angeles.

Under the ordinance, all city fees for TV pilots and first-year series with "substantial production" in Los Angeles would be waived, CBS 2 reports.

The waiver would only apply to new series and only if they're expected to go into a second year. That leaves out series with a planned limited run, but begs the question which shows it would apply to since so few pilots make it to air, let alone a second season.

The City Council approved the ordinance in February, but former Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa did not sign it before he left office in July.

According to a report from the City Chief Administrative Officer, waiving fees would cost the city about $230,000, but losing productions would cost infinitely more.

Last month, Garcetti named former MPAA chief Tom Sherak as the director of the city's Entertainment Industry and Production office, aka the city's first "Film Czar."

Of course, there's still the state level to deal with, as many production perks are determined there.

Paul Audley, president of FilmL.A. told the LA Times a few weeks ago, "California has yet to match and overcome out-of-state competition for this business. Until Sacramento acts to level the playing field, we won't see the kind of growth and prosperity that California families are counting on."

"I've made the industry a priority for my administration because it generates 500,000 jobs," Garcetti said in statement on October 8. "This isn't about the stars we see on the screen but about carpenters, caterers, and electricians and the stores they shop in."

Some of the shows that shoot in L.A. include ABC's Castle (which is set in New York City) and the CW's Teen Wolf, which recently relocated from Georgia.

The Times reported that overall location filming in Los Angeles rose 9 percent in late 2013, thanks to more feature films and commercials being shot here, but TV production was down four percent.

UPDATE, 1:02 p.m.: Actor Ron Perlman of Sons of Anarchy was at this morning' press conference at Raleigh Studios where Mayor Garcetti signed the ordinance.

Garcetti said, "Focusing on TV pilots not only supports a key part of the industry, it can lead to long-term dividends if a series gets picked up. This isn't about the stars on the screen, but carpenters, caterers and electricians and the stores they shop in." Many such "below the line" workers were on hand for the event.

Nearly 100 pilots filmed in L.A. in 2012 and 2013, which created about 14,400 production jobs, according to FilmL.A.

The LA Times reported that the entertainment industry contributed at least $955,000 to Garcetti's mayoral campaign.

Related:
California Has No One to Blame But Itself for TV and Movie Productions Leaving the State
California Cows Make the Milk, But the Milk Commercials are Made in New Zealand. Is that Illegal?
Filming Tax Breaks Help Bring Hollywood back to Hollywood