Confirmed: MTV’s ‘Teen Wolf’ leaves Atlanta, moves to Los Angeles

By RODNEY HO/ rho@ajc.com, originally filed July 2, 2012

After two seasons in Atlanta, MTV’s drama “Teen Wolf” is leaving town to shoot in Los Angeles if it gets a third season.

Stefanie Paupeck, a spokeswoman for the Georgia Film, TV and Film, Music & Digital Entertainment office, confirmed the news over the weekend.

It’s the first time a successful scripted TV series is leaving Atlanta mid-run. (As someone mentioned below, judge show “Swift Justice’ left town last year  but also lost Nancy Grace in the process.)

California offers tax credits, like Georgia, but limits them to a certain dollar amount. Since there is far more demand than supply, the state holds a lottery.

MTV and MGM, the production companies that make “Teen Wolf,” put in for the lottery – and won. So “Teen Wolf” is going Hollywood for a likely third season. (The show is averaging 1.7 to 1.8 million viewers in its first run so far, comparable to season one. Though MTV has not said so, a renewal is likely.)

Despite what has been said by Georgia officials, an MTV spokeswoman said a final decision has not been made on a location, though that may be because they haven’t squared everything yet in California.

There is a hassle factor to move mid-run. They have to find new crew members and build new sets. Plus, the California credits aren’t quite as generous as those in Georgia.

But Warner Brothers clearly had its reasons to make the move and not turn down those credits. The fact is: most of the creative types (the writers, the producers, the main actors) live in Los Angeles and would prefer to stay there if possible.

Unfortunately for Atlanta crew members, this is a loss. But Atlanta is picking up plenty of other new productions so this is hardly a death blow to the city’s burgeoning film and TV infrastructure.

This move does show how competitive it can be to woo productions from one city/state/country to another.

From a creative standpoint, it’s doubtful viewers will notice. “Teen Wolf” is technically based in a generic, fictional small north California town.

Some shows have shot pilots here before moving elsewhere: TNT’s “Franklin & Bash,” ABC’s short-lived “Detroit 1-8-7,” NBC’s upcoming “Revolution” and Fox’s new Kevin Bacon drama “The Following.”

But I can think of just two relatively recent examples of scripted shows moving to another city in the middle of their run. It’s far more common for shows to move networks.

- ABC’s “Ugly Betty” shifted production in 2008 from Los Angeles to New York after its second season. The state wooed the dramedy with generous tax credits. The show was technically based in New York City so the third and fourth seasons looked more authentic when it came to exterior shots. Not that it helped the show’s ratings, which slipped sharply by season four, leading to its cancellation in 2010.

- “The X Files” in 1998 moved from Vancouver to Los Angeles starting season six. The apparent reason: star David Duchovny wanted to be closer to his wife Tea Leoni .

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About the Author

Rodney Ho
Rodney Ho
Rodney Ho covers radio and television for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
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