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New York Approaches Record-Breaking Year in Television Production


New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced that the state is approaching a record-breaking year for television production. From CBS to Home Box Office to NBCUniversal, more and more television producers are moving to New York.

Already this season, state numbers show that there have been 19 pilots and five shows that went straight to series. At least two additional pilots have communicated intentions to film in New York. This sets the state up to break its record for the number of television pilots to film there in one year. The current record, according to the state, is 20 pilots.

“New York is now the place to go for the film and television industry,” Cuomo said. “We have the resources, the talented workforce and the venues to offer the industry unmatched opportunities. Our newly expanded and enhanced film and television program will only continue to spur tourism, attract more investments to New York and create more jobs for New Yorkers.”

The state’s popular film and television tax credit program began in 2004. It is estimated that the 349 projects that have filmed or applied to the program during the Cuomo administration will result in more than $5.5 billion in direct spending in New York. Also, the recently expanded and enhanced program provides new incentives to lure out-of-state talk and variety programs to the Empire State. In order to qualify, these programs must have filmed at least five seasons in another state. There are also new incentives to boost production in upstate New York.

CBS CEO Leslie Moonves said that, under Governor Cuomo’s leadership, the Empire State has become extremely user-friendly for television and film production. “By extending the film incentive program, Governor Cuomo and the legislature have expanded the opportunity for high-quality, high-paying jobs in New York State,” he said. “Without this legislation, CBS hit shows like Blue Bloods, The Good Wife and Elementary would likely be produced elsewhere. In addition, we can continue investing in new programming, including two pilots currently being filmed in New York, with more possibilities in the works. All of this production, and the jobs and economic benefits it creates, are due to the foresight of the Governor and the legislature.”

“New York’s exceptional locations, production facilities and talent make it a great creative option for shooting pilots, and these incentives help make it a much more attractive business option as well,” said Anne Sweeney, chairwoman, Disney Media Networks and president, Disney-ABC Television Group. “That’s why we shot pilots for both ABC and ABC Family in the Empire State this year, and anticipate shooting more there in the future.”

“New York has traditionally provided a fascinating array of backdrops against which to shoot our varied television shows, whether it’s the gritty streets of Law & Order or the beautiful theater district for Smash or our own Rockefeller Center for 30 Rock,” said Bob Greenblatt, chairman, NBC Entertainment. “The state’s tax incentive program has made producing these shows and others – including America’s Got Talent and the upcoming The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon and The Michael J. Fox Show – even more feasible as a beacon for attracting top talent in front of and behind the camera, who prefer to work in New York.”

Tony Argento of Broadway Stages called it “a domino effect,” wherein the mom and pop hardware stores, the corner coffee shop – the whole community flourishes, not just the film industry.

John Ford of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) echoed that sentiment. “The Empire State Film and Television tax credit incentive program has been the central driver of productions to New York State,” he said.

“The benefit to Theatrical Teamsters Local 817 is not just the hundreds of its members put to work, but the prospect of continuous work for years to come as these pilots are the seeds for enduring episodic television,” Tommy O’Donnell of Theatrical Teamsters Local 817 said. “The Teamsters owe great thanks to New York State for long term continuance of the Film Tax Credit. In a world of lucrative incentives, from both countries and other states, it has leveled the playing field and provided the stability for New York to enter into a golden age of television production.”

“For HBO, New York has been a vital production center for many of our projects such as Girls and Boardwalk Empire,” HBO CEO Richard Plepler said. “The approval of this incentive, coupled with the top-notch talent, premier stages and infrastructure here, will make New York a compelling place to work for years to come.”

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