First Los Angeles lost the movie business, and now they’re losing TV:

The five broadcast television networks will be rolling out 23 new one-hour dramas for the upcoming season. That would normally be good business for Hollywood’s hometown industry — with bookings for soundstages and plenty of work for the costumers, camera operators and caterers needed to put a show on the air.

But not this year. Just two of the 23 new fall and midseason shows will be shot in Los Angeles County, as cost-conscious producers seek tax-friendly production havens in New York, North Carolina, Georgia and other states.

The exodus has been going on for years, especially in feature film production. But television dramas such as”CSI,””Criminal Minds”and”Desperate Housewives”have long been anchors of Los Angeles’ entertainment economy, helping to offset the decade-long slide in moviemaking. One 22-episode-a-year network series has a budget of $60 million and generates 840 direct and indirect jobs, according to the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp.

I, of course, consider this an unmitigated positive. I have long complained about the centrality of Los Angeles and New York as TV show locations and one of the listed reasons for it is that the shows are filmed there. More shows filmed elsewhere should mean more shows taking place elsewhere. Of course, if they start filming stuff in Oklahoma City that takes place in Los Angeles, I’m really going to lose it.


Category: Theater

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3 Responses to Leaving Hollywood

  1. Peter says:

    Here are some grim observations by a Los Angeles movie and TV lighting technician.

  2. David Alexander says:

    Of course, if they start filming stuff in Oklahoma City that takes place in Los Angeles, I’m really going to lose it.

    It depends on the type of television show. With the exception of a few places, unless a television show is aiming to amp up certain stereotypes, a family sitcom can be written about any city with just a references to the town. You can set a show in Minneapolis or Chicago with the same script for most episodes with slight adjustments for weather jokes, sport team references and local food. Most of these shows are shot in a set with a few outdoor scenes on a backlot.

    Dramas tend to be an interesting case. Is there a market for a cop/lawyer/medical show about Colosse? The recent reboot of Dallas on TNT makes sense being set there, but that’s because they’re fighting over oil. Theoretically, one could dump the show in North Dakota and swap oil for natural gas, but who wants to watch a show that would be described as “Fargo meets Dallas”? ER took place in an urban Chicago hospital, but would it have the same appeal in say, Indianapolis or Milwaukee? Or do producers and network executives play on our stereotypes of certain locales to create the image that we need for setting, leaving the lesser known and smaller cities out of the running.

  3. trumwill says:

    David,

    For most shows, it doesn’t actually matter all that much where it is set. A cop show that takes place in Colosse needn’t be about Colosse. Cold Case takes place in Philadelphia, but incidentally as much as anything. But I continue to like the fact that it takes place somewhere different. One of the main arguments for having so many shows take place in LA is that they are filmed there. Filming in Oklahoma City and having it take place in LA would be lame, lame, lame.

    Chicago Hope wouldn’t be appreciably different if it took place in Indianapolis, though you wouldn’t really want it to be the title of the show. Grey’s Anatomy takes place in Seattle, but it’s not central.

    Sometimes you do want to make a locale central to the show. I don’t know what would make a Chicago hospital all that different from another, and if it hadn’t been done to death NY, LA, and Chicago would be fine places to center around. But they have been done to death.h

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