Vancouver ranks 3rd in TV pilot production in North America, says new report

Television production houses are choosing Vancouver as one of their top go-to locations to shoot pilots of new shows, according to a new report from FilmL.A.

Surge of pilot production in Vancouver, Toronto due to low loonie

Fear the Walking Dead was one of the new television show pilots shot in Vancouver last year. (AMC)

Television production houses are choosing Vancouver as one of their top go-to locations to shoot pilots of new shows, according to a new report from FilmL.A.

Vancouver ranks third in TV pilot production in North America, says the not-for-profit organization, which looks at the health of Los Angeles' television and film production. 

It compared the results to other North American cities, such as Toronto, New York and Georgia, and found that Vancouver is becoming increasingly popular. 

Robert Wong, the acting film commissioner and vice-president of Creative B.C., says Vancouver's rank makes sense. 

"We have been very busy in the last number of years, both with films and television," he said.

Fear the Walking Dead is probably one of the most highly-anticipated new shows shot in Vancouver last year. The spinoff of AMC's popular zombie apocalypse Walking Dead show was shot in the Lower Mainland. 

Pilot production in North America

Of the the cities the report looked at, 25 television pilots were shot in Vancouver in the 2015-2016 period, putting it behind L.A. with 82 pilots and New York with 28 pilots.

Top locations for drama pilots

Vancouver was the "most notable" of the locations, according to the report, because the number of drama pilots shot there surged to 21 — an increase of 75 per cent compared to last year.

The West Coast city has also surpassed New York in the total number of drama pilot for the third time in the past seven years. 

Toronto's drama pilot production also climbed 37 per cent. 

Low loonie

Unsurprisingly, the report says the surge of pilot production in Canada was driven by the low loonie.

"Growth in Canada was driven by the exchange rate, which offers American producers an additional 20 to 25 per cent savings based on the value of the Canadian dollar, which plummeted over the past year," said the report.

Wong said while the exchange rate does play a factor, he believes it's Vancouver's proximity to L.A. and reputation as a film city that makes it a popular choice. 

"The exchange rate alone is not enough. You have to have the ability to produce, and Vancouver is a full production centre. And in 2.5 hours, you can fly up talent and crews from Los Angeles to Vancouver."

Others have previously said that Vancouver's diverse landscape and moderate seasons also make it a good choice.

"The beauty of Vancouver is you have all season," said Mercedes Mason, who plays Ofelia on Fear the Walking Deadin an August 2015 interview.

"If you want something shot in the summer, it is beautiful. If you need a winter feel, absolutely. You kind of get a little bit of everything and you cannot beat the people, they are so sweet."