On Location: ABC's 'Body of Proof' TV drama moving to L.A. from Rhode Island
The new crime drama starring Dana Delany and Jeri Ryan filmed its first season in Providence, R.I., but uncertainty surrounding the small state's film tax credit program put California in play. Gov. Lincoln Chafee has recommended dismantling the state film tax credit program to balance the state's budget.
ABC received approval for a $7-million tax credit for "Body of Proof" in March, said Amy Lemisch, director of the California Film Commission. The production has a crew of about 200 people.
"They have indicated they are moving the show and will start filming in Los Angeles in mid- to late July," Lemisch said. "It's a huge deal for us and another example of how our tax credit program is increasing production."
ABC representatives were not immediately available for comment.
The move marks the highest-profile TV series to date to relocate to L.A. since California enacted a film tax credit program in 2009 aimed at curbing runaway production.
The law was adopted partly in response to the outcry in Hollywood over ABC's decision to move the sitcom "Ugly Betty" from L.A. to New York in 2008 to take advantage of that state's tax credits. The show has since been canceled.
Since 2009, the state tax credit program has approved 125 projects accounting for $2.2 billion in production spending and $760 million in wages, state officials say.
The program, which excludes movies costing more than $75 million, has mostly benefited lower-budget films and new cable shows but has attracted relatively few TV series to California from another state or country.
Other TV shows that have relocated include "Torchwood," the BBC America sci-fi series that moved to L.A. from Wales earlier this year, after receiving approval for a California production tax credit. Comedy Central's "Important Things With Demetri Martin" came to L.A. from New York after receiving approval for a California tax credit in 2009.
Network TV series like "Body of Proof" can qualify for California's film tax program only if they are moving to California from another location.
"Body of Proof" finished as TV’s most-watched new show for the 2010-11 season and on average qualified as ABC’s most-watched series during Tuesday’s 10 o'clock hour, according to the network.
In 2009, ABC moved production of "All My Children" to L.A. from New York to take advantage of lower production costs. ABC recently announced it was canceling the long-running soap.
-- Richard Verrier
Photo: Dana Delany stars in the ABC TV series "Body of Proof." Credit: John Clifford / ABC