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LA Times

New York TV Writers Push for Change in State Law

Aug 14, 2014  •  Post A Comment

Television writers in New York are seeking legislation that would change state law. The Los Angeles Times’ Company Town reports that the writers are asking the state to pass a new tax credit that would reward productions for hiring local writers.

The writers say that even though TV shows often film in the city, they tend to be written on the West Coast, effectively snubbing local talent.

“We’re New Yorkers and we’re showrunners and we have our writing rooms here in New York,” Tom Fontana, who has written for the HBO series “Oz,” told the publication. “We were talking about how many TV shows are shot in New York — the actors are here, the crew is here, and even the post [-production] is here, because that’s now covered by the rebate — but the writers’ rooms are still in L.A.”

About 80% to 90% of TV shows that are shot in NYC are written in Los Angeles, “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” writer Warren Leight said.

The article notes: “The group hired a lobbyist in Albany about five years ago to start working on an amendment to the tax law. The team was advised to narrow its proposal to minorities and female New York-based writers in this initial stage, Fontana said, in order to ‘better speak to legislators’ in the state.”

The report adds: “The bill proposes a tax credit of up to 30% of compensation with a maximum of $15,000 for each New York-based writer that is a woman or member of a minority group. The tax credit can’t exceed more than $3.5 million a year, a portion that will be removed from the already existing $420 million rebate pool.”

tom fontana

Tom Fontana

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