Prompted By Tax Credit Incentive, "Chad," "The Flight Attendant" Move Production To California 
Griffin Matthews (l) and Kaley Cuoco in a scene from the series "The Flight Attendant" (photo by Phil Caruso/courtesy of HBO Max)
  • HOLLYWOOD, Calif.
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Two more TV series will relocate to the California thanks to its film and TV tax credit program. 

The TBS sitcom Chad (from Vancouver, British Columbia) and the HBO Max comedy-drama The Flight Attendant (from New York) will move to California for their second season of production. With these latest wins, California’s tax credit program has welcomed a total of 23 relocating TV series from other states and nations in recent years. Topping the list are seven series from New York (The Flight Attendant, Hunters, In Treatment, Sneaky Pete, The Affair, The OA, You), and five series from British Columbia (Chad, Legion, Lucifer, Mistresses, Timeless). 

The current round of tax credits is just the latest to attract a pair of relocating TV projects. The three prior TV allocation rounds each welcomed a pair of series from other production locales. They include Hunters and The Right Stuff (announced November 2020; The Right Stuff withdrew from the tax credit program on April 15), In Treatment and Miracle Workers (announced August 2020) and Dream and Special (announced December 2019). 

For their first season in California, Chad and The Flight Attendant are on track to generate a combined $58.3 million in “qualified” spending, which is defined as below-the-line wages to California workers and payments to in-state vendors. Overall in-state spending will be significantly greater with the inclusion of above-the-line wages and other expenditures that do not qualify for incentives under California’s uniquely targeted tax credit program.

“In total, the 23 relocating TV series in our tax credit program account for more than 7,500 cast and crew jobs, $852 million in qualified spending, and $1.2 billion in direct overall production spending across California,” said Colleen Bell, executive director of the California Film Commission. “It takes significant effort for an established TV series to pack up and relocate production, so our success with such projects says a lot about the industry’s preference for working here in the Golden State.” 

The two latest relocating TV series, Chad and The Flight Attendant, will employ 442 crew, 180 cast, and 1,980 background actors/stand-ins (the latter measured in “man-days”) over a combined 117 filming days in California. They will also generate postproduction jobs and revenue for VFX artists, sound editors, sound mixers, musicians and other workers/vendors. Based on their qualified spending, Chad and The Flight Attendant qualify for $14.5 million in reserved tax credit allocation. 

The latest application period for TV projects was held March 15–22. Due to the tax credit program’s success with ongoing TV projects, the allocation round was open only to newly relocating series and recurring series accepted during previous rounds. In addition to the two relocating series Chad and The Flight Attendant, the tax credit program currently has 28 recurring (legacy) series in various stages of production. The current list of projects eligible for tax credits is subject to change, as projects may withdraw from the program. To date, a total of 156 television projects--including new TV series, relocating TV series, pilots, MOWs and miniseries--have been selected for tax credits since 2015. 

The state’s next tax credit application period for TV projects will be June 14–21. The next application period for feature films will be July 19–26. 

Projects approved for California tax credits are selected based on their jobs ratio score, which ranks each project by wages to below-the-line workers, qualified spending for vendors, equipment, etc., and other criteria. The top 200% ranked projects in each round (i.e., those that would qualify if double the amount of funding was available for the current allocation round) are evaluated, and those with the highest-ranked jobs ratio scores receive a tax credit reservation. Those not selected are placed on the waiting list. The tax credit program allocates funding in “buckets” for different production categories, including non-independent films, independent films, TV projects and relocating TV series. This allocation system enables applicants to compete for credits directly against comparable projects. As has been the case since the state launched its first-generation tax credit program in 2009, the California Film Commission awards tax credits only after each selected project: 1) completes postproduction, 2) verifies that in-state jobs were created, and 3) provides all required documentation, including audited cost reports. 


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