EW has learned that Fringe, J.J. Abrams’ sci-fi series on Fox—which is set in Boston but films in New York—is planning a move to Vancouver, Canada in the event that it is picked up for a second season. In a statement, Warner Bros. Television tells EW that “in this challenging and uncertain economic environment, we have made the very difficult decision to move… We did not come to this conclusion easily, but economic and practical imperatives dictated that this decision be made in a timely manner.” It is believed that the decision to relocate is due largely to the lingering possibility that New York state’s film/TV production tax incentive program, which just recently ran out of funds, will not be replenished by Governor David Paterson.
According to Stuart Suna, head of Long Island City’s Silvercup Studios—where Fringe currently films—the program’s $685 million budget, which was put into place in April 2008, was initially expected to last until 2013. But because of its popularity, “all of the allocated money was used up. So many productions came to New York. It was more than anybody expected.”
With the potential expiration of these tax incentives, the future shooting locales for certain NYC-based shows—like 30 Rock, In Treatment, and Life On Mars—remain in limbo. The problem is compounded by the fact that in the past week, California and Ottawa each made aggressive moves to court productions with their own tax incentives. EW can report, however, that neither Ugly Betty nor Gossip Girl will be exiting the Big Apple anytime soon; they were fortunate enough to file their applications just before the piggy bank emptied.
EW will follow this story as it continues to develop, so keep checking back for updates.