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HBO makes it official: 'Veep' leaving Maryland after four years

Sad to see TV's smartest satire leave the state.

"Veep," HBO's Emmy Award-winning political satire, is leaving Maryland for Los Angeles, HBO announced Thursday.

“After four years and a long deliberation we have decided to move the production of ‘Veep' to Los Angeles,” the channel said in a statement sent to The Baltimore Sun. “Maryland has been home to many vital HBO projects, from ‘The Corner' to ‘The Wire' to ‘Game Change,' and the support has always been extraordinary. The producers and HBO would like to thank Maryland for making the last four seasons of ‘Veep' such a success. We look forward to returning with another production in the future.”

“We will miss having ‘Veep' shoot in Baltimore and are sorry to see them leave,” Debbie Dorsey, director of the Baltimore Film Office, said of the series that stars Julia Louis-Dreyfus. “This hurts not only Baltimore's creative culture, but it hurts our economy as well. When any kind of company shuts down, there are jobs lost and small businesses that lose income. HBO's ‘Veep' was no exception. ‘Veep' utilized an average of 1,000 businesses each season — 400 of which were Baltimore City small businesses and hired about 1,000 Marylanders each season and created an economic impact of $114 million over the course of three seasons.”

Like Netflix's “House of Cards,” HBO came to Maryland in part because of incentives. “Veep” received $6.5 million from the state, but California offered more.

Film tax credits generated debate in Annapolis in 2014 after the producers of “House of Cards” threatened to relocate their sound stage from Harford County unless the show received more subsidies.

Lawmakers did not agree to the amount “House of Cards” wanted, but the series decided to stay.

Season 4 of “House of Cards,” which has begun filming, could be the last show shot in Maryland, and if it leaves, the state will be out of the big leagues of TV and film production.

The relationship dates to 1997 when the channel made the pilot for producer Tom Fontana's groundbreaking prison drama, “Oz,” in Maryland. The series was eventually filmed in New York City, but it paved the way for another pilot, a miniseries, four movies and two extended series: “Veep and “The Wire.”

Since 1997, HBO has employed 30,000 Marylanders and spent an estimated $300 million on the productions, according to Jack Gerbes, director of the Maryland Film Office.

Based on talks with HBO, Gerbes said the state is “optimistic that the relationship between Maryland and HBO will include future productions.”

But talk about what might happen in the future didn't make the news go down any easier with members of the local production community.

“Certainly nobody wants to see this happen,” said Pat Moran, an Emmy-Award-winning casting director who was nominated for three Emmys for her work on “Veep.” “It affects everybody in the industry here,” she added. “It’s bad economic news. And they were such great people to work with. That was a first-rate production from top to bottom. They will be missed.”

Jed Dietz, director of the Maryland Film Festival, said he "hates" that the show is leaving.

“HBO has been an incredibly valuable part of the Maryland economy for years. We had an unusual relationship with one of the greatest producers and funders of entertainment in the world that was the envy of other states, and now we don’t.”

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