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Depletion of New York tax credits is sending 'Fringe' to Vancouver

February 23, 2009 | 11:32 am

Fringe_3_2 Uncertainty about the future of New York state’s tax credit program for film and television work is already driving major productions to other locales. Warner Bros. Television confirmed today that the sci-fi drama “Fringe” it produces for Fox will decamp from New York for Vancouver, Canada, if it’s picked up for another season.

“We did not come to this conclusion easily, but economic and practical imperatives dictated that this decision be made in a timely manner,” the studio said in a statement.

Earlier this month, New York exhausted the $515 million that had been allocated for the tax incentive program through 2013. Backers of the program are pushing state leaders to include more funding in next year’s budget, but legislators are wrangling with a $13-billion deficit.

Ongoing series like “Gossip Girl” that had already applied for the tax credit are staying put, for now. But the situation has already had a major effect on New York’s television pilot season, with studios largely avoiding the state in favor of cheaper locales. Canada is a major beneficiary: “Maggie Hill,” a 20th Century Fox Television pilot about a female heart surgeon set in New York, is going to be filmed in Toronto, for example. California’s recent passage of a tax incentive program for film and TV could also lure more work back to that state.

— Matea Gold

(Photo: Robert Caplin/For The Times)