FilmLA report: Pandemic causes 6-year-low total of shows airing in 2021
FilmLA, the nonprofit agency that coordinates permitting in the Los Angeles area, announced Tuesday that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of scripted television shows airing during the 2021 cycle reached its lowest level in six years, though California remained the main production center.
The 2021 cycle runs from June 1, 2020 to May 31, 2021. The cycle had 331 television shows air, down from 452 the previous year. It was the lowest since 2013-2014, when 329 projects aired.
FilmLA attributed the 26.8% decline to the COVID-19 shutdown and sporadic production restarts. However, in the second quarter of 2021, television production in Los Angeles reached pre-pandemic levels.
Despite the decrease in projects, California remained the main production center tracked by FilmLA, hosting 97 projects in the 2021 cycle. Other main production centers were filmed New York; Georgia; and British Columbia, Canada.
During the 2021 cycle, 145 shows aired on streaming platforms, 103 aired on cable and 83 aired on broadcast networks.
FilmLA said the average number of series aired on streaming platforms has grown at an average annual rate of 35.4%, compared to just 2.2% for broadcast series. Cable show production declined at an annual rate of 1.8%.
California hosted the most projects across all categories, with 36 broadcast shows, 20 cable shows and 41 streaming shows.
However, while California hosted the most shows, it also experienced the steepest year-over-year decline among the top three filming destinations. In 2021, California hosted 39% less shows, going from 159 to 97 series. New York experienced a 31.7% decrease in series and Georgia remained steady at 39 shows.
FilmLA noted that Georgia had an earlier return to production during COVID-19, while Los Angeles production was halted an additional month.