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Utah looking to help new TV series make it big

Published February 14, 2014 3:40 pm

Incentives • GOED provides financial aid for filming of AMC's "Galyntine" in Utah.
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State officials are hoping "Galyntine" becomes the next "Touched by an Angel."

To foster that storyline, the Governor's Office of Economic Development (GOED) board approved financial incentives Thursday for Galantyne's producers — including Ridley Scott — to film a pilot program and the first season of a post-apocalyptic television series in Utah.

"We haven't had a big [long-running] television series since 'Touched,' " said GOED board member Amy Rees Anderson, referring to the CBS television series about an angel who delivers messages from God to people facing dilemmas. It ran for nine years (1994-2003) and its 200-plus episodes were shot largely in Salt Lake City.

When it shut down, the Utah Film Commission estimated the series generated about $300 million in spending, two-thirds of which filtered through the state's economy, providing steady work for about 150 Utahns and impacting 300 local companies.

"Galyntine" will be hard pressed to match those kinds of numbers. The program was picked up last fall by AMC, home to cable hits such as "The Walking Dead" and "Breaking Bad," but whose series generally don't have nearly as many episodes per season as those on the broadcast networks.

Still, "Galyntine" has the potential to leave behind considerable money in the state, particularly if the show succeeds and goes on for several seasons.

"We've been working hard on this project since October," Utah Film Commission Director Marshall Moore told the GOED board, adding he was optimistic about the program's prospects because its producers include Scott, the English director whose credits include the Academy Award-winning "Gladiator" and other blockbuster movies such as "Alien," "Blade Runner," "Thelma and Louise," "Black Hawk Down" and "American Gangster."

The GOED board approved a post-performance tax credit of $1.46 million to $1.83 million for shooting and production of the pilot this year, representing 20 percent to 25 percent of the $7.3 million projected to be spent.

In two weeks of filming the pilot, "Galyntine" will have 20 to 25 cast members, a crew of 120 and 350 extras.

The same number of people are projected to be involved in filming season one of "Galyntine," which will take 75 days to shoot in 2015. The extra days will boost estimated spending to $23 million, resulting in a state incentive that year of $4.6 million to $5.75 million.

"They'll probably be all over the state because the characters are always on the move," Moore said, noting the show is set in a future agrarian society after society has melted down.

Two other projects received financial incentives from the GOED board.

"Don Verdean the Movie," a comedy produced by Jared Hess (writer of "Napoleon Dynamite" and "Nacho Libre") and David Hunter ("The Singles Ward"), will get a post-performance tax credit of $250,000 to $312,500.

That production, a comedy about a biblical archaeologist who is a bumbling fool, will spend an estimated $2 million in 25 days of shooting, involving a cast of 11, a crew of 47 and 1,000 extras.

Another television series, "Abolitionists," about children being forced into the sex industry, will receive a tax credit of no less than $195,000 for filming of its first season. Its producers expect to spend $975,000 filming over 32 days, using a cast of four, a crew of five and four extras.

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