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Hollywood ‘Cautiously Optimistic’ After Local Filming Boost

Sitcoms, reality TV drive 2010 surge
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(David McNew/Getty Images)

(David McNew/Getty Images)

LOS ANGELES (CBS) — An unexpected surge in television and feature productions late last year resulted in a 15 percent increase in on-location filming in the city and county of Los Angeles in 2010, compared to 2009, according to a report released Tuesday.

FilmL.A., the nonprofit organization that coordinates local film permits, recorded 43,646 permitted production days in 2010, compared to 37,979 the previous year.

“On balance, the numbers are positive, and I am cautiously optimistic about 2011,” FilmL.A. President Paul Audley said.

Television production grew 49.9 percent in the fourth quarter to end the year with an 11.9 percent gain over 2009.

The recovery was led by television sitcoms and reality shows, which saw a 77.9 percent and 46.6 percent boost in on-location filming, respectively. On the other hand, television dramas and pilots declined as studios opted to save money by shooting on their lots.

On-location feature production posted a 28.1 percent gain in the fourth quarter and a year-over-year gain of 8.1 percent.

FilmL.A. attributed that increase to the California Film and Television Tax Credit Program, which offered $100 million in annual tax credits for productions starting July 2010. That amount is only half as much as was offered the year before — the program’s first year — but still attracted dozens of feature productions to Los Angeles.

“Were it not for these projects, 2010 would have been the worst year on record for on-location feature filming in Los Angeles,” according to a Film L.A. statement.

The California Film Commission estimated that since the program began in mid-2009, it has injected $2 billion in direct spending into California communities, including more than $697 million in wages paid to below-the-line workers. The incentives are set to expire in 2014.

Meanwhile, commercials experienced a 28.1 percent boost in 2010, compared to the previous year, the category’s largest year-over-year increase since tracking began in 1993.

“The uptick in numbers clearly reflects the reality that the advertising industry is rebounding nicely from one of its greatest slumps in history,” said Matt Miller, president and chief executive officer of the Association of Independent Commercial Producers.

(©2010 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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