HBO’s viscerally funny comedy Veep will move its fictional White House from Maryland, where the show was based its first four seasons, to California, the Los Angeles Times reports. The relocation comes on the heels of California shoring up financial incentives for Hollywood, while Maryland’s film incentive program shrinks.
California Governor Jerry Brown signed legislation last year growing the state’s tax credits for film and television productions that shoot there to $330 million, including $27.6 million set aside for shows that relocate from elsewhere. Veep will share that pot with FX’s American Horror Story and two other shows. HBO is set to get $6.5 million from California for the fifth season of Veep, which stars Julia Louis-Dreyfus as President Selina Meyer, an supremely unprepared politician who finds herself suddenly elevated to the Oval Office. (Washingtonian interviewed co-star Tony Hale, who plays her body man Gary, before the current season.)
The refund HBO will get from California is actually $1 million less than what it got from Maryland for Veep’s fourth season, but it’s more than the channel stood to get had it kept the show in the Old Line State. Maryland has spent $62.5 million on film incentives since 2012, but hasn’t gotten much bang for all those bucks, according to a report last December from the state’s Department of Legislative Services. Annapolis budget analysts urged lawmakers to dump the incentive program; while it wasn’t killed outright, it was reduced to $7.5 million for the 2016 fiscal year.
At just $7.5 million for all productions, it’s likely that Veep‘s producers would have found themselves scrapping with House of Cards for every dime. Since 2012, the two shows collected 98.5 percent of Maryland’s film incentives. Netflix, soon to begin production on the fourth season of its flagship drama, lobbied Maryland officials last year to keep the incentive program at its expanded levels. House of Cards recently issued casting calls in Annapolis.