What’s Behind NBC’s Plan to Move ‘Tonight Show’ to New York — and Why California Won’t Fight It

Mar 27, 2013  •  Post A Comment

The head of California’s film commission said it won’t fight NBC’s decision to move "The Tonight Show" to New York in 2014, when Jimmy Fallon is slated to take over, reports the New York Post.

NBC will be able to receive a 30% tax credit through 2019 by moving the show back to New York, which is a credit that California can’t match, the story says. The state’s incentive program is targeted toward scripted dramas, the piece adds.

"There is certainly no pending legislation that would affect this type of production,” California Film Commission Executive Director Amy Lemisch said. “This situation is unique.”

The move will probably mean the loss of 100 jobs on the West Coast, according to the Post.

“The move is the latest blow to the L.A. entertainment scene,” the Post reports. “Just yesterday, MTV announced plans to bring the 2013 Video Music Awards to Brooklyn’s Barclays Center in August.”

But NBC’s interest in returning “Tonight” to the New York area — where the show taped until 1972 — isn’t necessarily about money.

The Post quotes Kevin Klowden, director of the California Center at the Milken Institute, saying: “It is being done because Jimmy Fallon convinced NBC that his show has to be done in New York. With a comedy or variety show, you need a significant writing staff. Jimmy Fallon is in New York and probably most of the writers he wants to use are in New York.”

The piece notes that the higher cost of living in New York offsets the tax incentives, meaning it is probably not much cheaper to produce the show in New York.

Meanwhile, Dave Golonski, the mayor of Burbank, where “Tonight” currently tapes, said he will continue to lobby NBC to reconsider the move. “We are going to work as hard as we can to let NBC know how much we appreciate having the ‘Tonight Show’ here,” said Golonski.


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