by Jennifer Pittz

© Hollywood Reporter- Getty Images [6]

In the beginning stages of television production, programs were produced by television stations, by one of the three big networks, or by motion picture studios. By the 1970s, a portable video camera and other production equipment were made available and television production has continued to evolve since [1]. Technological advancements in television production have helped to reduce costs, create time efficiency, and keep up with the demand for exciting television.

Recent Changes in Production

Television production continues to go through constant changes as technology progresses. Production equipment is now mobile, lighter, digital, and offers more creative features. Production locations are primarily in big metropolitan cities like New York City, Los Angeles, Washington, DC, and Chicago. Production is an aspect of the television business that must stay up-to-date with technological developments and current economic activity to stay competitive and maintain cost efficiency.

Production Houses Migrating out of L.A.

© LA Times – Hollywood, CA [3]

Practically all production companies and broadcasting stations own at least one on site studio or a production house. Studios can be used for several purposes including news production, creating local commercials, public affairs programming, and talk shows. The majority of production houses are located on the West Coast, typically in Los Angeles. Since the 1980s, when Twentieth Century FOX established the FOX Network, L.A. quickly transformed into the production capital of the world [5]. A couple years later Paramount, Warner Brothers, and Disney followed. The talent of the cast and crews, the industry resources, diverse locations, and constant weather help to keep L.A. the primary area for production [2].

© Jen Pittz [14]

However, the television industry is constantly changing to stay cost effective and many production companies are migrating to other locations. Production in Los Angeles County has lost over 16,000 jobs sine 2004 because of work migrating out of the state [3]. California was not competitive with other states despite the favorable environment it offers.The state’s lack of offering competing tax incentives as well as the current program on its way to an end has driven production out of the hub. During this same time frame New York, North Carolina, New Mexico, Georgia, and Louisiana have added thousands of jobs because of new film tax credits. Production of pilot programs for broadcast and cable networks have been mounting outside the state, making L.A. take only half of the pie in 2011 [6].

However, September 30, 2012 Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. signed the Assembly Bill 2026 and Senate Bill 1197 to extend government funding for California’s Film and Television Tax Credit Program. Governor Brown signed the state on for a new two-year, $200 million extension to the existing bill that was due to expire at the end of next year. The new bill will be offered through the 2016-2017 fiscal years [4]. The new bill is positive for productions that are currently in the works or productions that will end by 2016-2017. The bill was overwhelmingly supported by the state Assembly and the Senate. California offers a 20 percent to 25 percent tax credit towards production costs to offset business tax liabilities but compared to what other states offer the bill appears to be limited and not competitive [7]. But for upcoming and long-term productions, the bill does not encourage the film and television industry to stay.

Hurricane Sandy’s Impact on Production

© 2012 The City of New York [4]

Since production crews have recently relocated to new locations, the East Coast became a popular place to set up equipment. New York City has always been known as a television hub, but has lately flourished in the absence of L.A. production. In May of 2012, the Boston Consulting Group released a study recognizing New York City’s film sector is the strongest in its history. In 2011 it generated $7.1 billion and increase in over $2 billion since 2002 [9].

After Hurricane Sandy touched down and made land fall October 30 of this year, production throughout the North East came to a halt and was postponed. New York City officials announced that all film permits were to be revoked October 29 and October 30 for Hurricane Sandy precautions [10]. At least nine television shows were hurt by the shutdown including “Blue Bloods” (CBS), “Elementary” (CBS), “Gossip Girl” (CW), “Person of Interest” (CBS), “666 Park Avenue” (ABC) and “The Following” (Fox). Without the production of these new television shows, networks were forced to preempt other shows and shuffle around television programming for the week.

© Huffington Post [12]

Late night talk shows, morning shows, and news stations were forced to figure out ways to get their shows on the air despite the natural disaster. Several talk shows also cancelled television production during the disaster and its aftermath including “Katie,” “The Colbert Report,” and “The Daily Show With Jon Stewart[10]. “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” which normally is filmed in L.A., was set for production for a special “Jimmy Kimmel Live from Brooklyn” in New York [10]. “The Colbert Report” and “The Daily Show With Jon Stewart” filmed their shows despite missing the studio audience [8]. “Jimmy Kimmel Live from Brooklyn,” was not filmed according to plan. Morning news shows were able to go on for air but were forced to remain inside. ABC’s “Good Morning America,” NBC’s “Today Show” and “CBS This Morning” aired live Tuesday with extensive storm coverage [13].

© CNN 2012

Other production problems that came with Hurricane Sandy include getting enough news station crews out safely to shoot video and report for air. Stations were forced to be innovative and use the most of technology and social media with limited resources. In order to keep up with breaking news and current updates, CBS sent out its own mobile SUV weather lab to measure wind and rain [15]. Reporters also turned to citizen journalism by means of social media to get video and pictures on the scene. More equipment and labor are needed in order to cover a massive event at different locations and different news angles. CBS sent reporters and equipment from as far as Minneapolis and Dallas to help stations hit by the super storm on the East Coast [15].



1. Howard J. Blumenthal and Oliver R. Goodenough, The Business of Television, 2006.




5. Dominick, Joseph R., Sherman, Barry L., & Messere, Fritz. (2000). Broadcasting, Cable, The Internet, and Beyond, 4th Edition. Boston: McGraw Hill.