Hot Locations: "Penny Dreadful" Relocates To California
  • Friday, Mar. 29, 2019
Amy Lemisch, executive director of the California Film Commission

The next season of the Showtime saga Penny Dreadful will bring high-wage jobs and lots of production spending to California as it becomes the 16th TV series to relocate to the state with help from Film & TV Tax Credit Program 2.0. The popular drama-horror series will move production from Dublin to Los Angeles for its fourth season. Penny Dreadful: City of Angels will employ more than 350 cast members, 150 crew and 10,000 extras.

Approved conditionally for $24.7 million in tax credits, Penny Dreadful: City of Angels will spend an estimated $99 million on below-the-line wages and other qualified expenditures during the upcoming season. Note that total spending for such projects is significantly higher than qualified spending, as overall spending also includes above-the-line wages and other production expenditures that do not qualify for tax credits under Program 2.0.

“With its established track record and top of the line production value, a relocating series like Penny Dreadful brings long-term jobs and significant in-state spending,” said Amy Lemisch, executive director of the California Film Commission. “Global competition and increasing reliance on VFX make it possible for projects set almost anywhere to film wherever they get the best value. We’re delighted that California crews and service providers will benefit directly from this project, which is set in our own backyard.”

The new season of the Emmy-nominated series is described as the next chapter in the Penny Dreadful saga and a spiritual descendant of prior seasons set in Victorian-era London. While the new installment takes place in 1938 Los Angeles, other production locales were considered.

“Choosing where to set up production for the next chapter of the Penny Dreadful fable was one of the most important decisions we had to make, and there were many options we looked into,” said Jana Winograde, president of Entertainment, Showtime Networks Inc. “Shooting in California obviously has many attractions, but without the state’s Film and TV tax credit it could become cost prohibitive. We couldn’t be happier about how things worked out or the benefits it will bring to the job market.”

With the addition of Penny Dreadful, California’s expanded Film & TV Tax Credit Program 2.0 has attracted relocating TV series from seven U.S. states plus Canada and the Republic of Ireland. These projects are on track to generate nearly $1 billion in qualified in-state spending, including $553 million in wages to below-the-line workers. These numbers will continue to grow as the relocated projects are picked up for additional seasons.

The 6th annual Location Managers Guild International (LMGI) Awards, honoring the outstanding and creative visual contributions of location professionals and film commissions in film, television and commercials, will be held on September 21 at the Broad Theater in Santa Monica. Online submissions are now open at With the change in date of this year’s LMGI Awards from April to September, the 6th Annual LMGI Awards timeline is unique in that there is an 18-month calendar of eligibility. Productions that were first released between January 1, 2018 and May 31, 2019 are now eligible. Nominations will be announced on July 11.

Awards will be presented in the following categories: Contemporary Film, Period Film, Contemporary TV, Period TV, Commercials and Film Commissions. Honorary Awards include the Humanitarian, Lifetime Achievement, Trailblazer and the Eva Monley Award. 

Eligible productions must feature locations that are artistically integral to the story being told, and location professionals nominated must have demonstrated an innate understanding that the proper location is not only a backdrop for action, but also sets tone, reveals character, and enhances the narrative.

LMGI Awards accepts domestic and international submissions for work that demonstrates the significance of locations in supporting character development and storyline. Active and retired LMGI members in good standing can vote on the awards. Submissions are open to LMGI members and non-members alike.

Committee co-chairs of this year’s LMGI Awards are Lori Balton, Mike Fantasia and John Rakich. 

Governor JB Pritzker and the Illinois Film Office at the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity reported strong increases in film industry spending, wages and job hires in 2018, with total estimated spending and wages up 12 percent since 2017.

Illinois scored a record number of nine original content episodic television programs. Streaming services and cable expanded their production in the state, with Comedy Central, Showtime, Netflix, Amazon Studios, and, for the first time, HBO all choosing Illinois. The combined total of 332 television, film, digital and commercial advertising projects generated $473,936,273 in estimated Illinois spending, resulting in 13,848 job hires and nearly 4,000 individual businesses providing goods and services to the industry. 

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