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Cuomo Quietly Adds Tax Credit To Lure 'Tonight Show' To New York

The Cuomo administration quietly slipped a proposed tax break in the budget Thursday to lure 'The Tonight Show' back to Manhattan.

Documents show that the provision would make state tax credits available for the producers of "a talk or variety program that filmed at least five seasons outside the state prior to its first relocated season in New York."

It also requires that the program be filmed before a studio audience of at least 200, have a production budget of at least $30 million or incur at least $10 million in capital expenses and has to have been shot outside New York for at least 5 seasons prior to relocation.

Although it would be open to all such programs, the credit sounds like it was written exactly for 'The Tonight Show'. The late night show moved to Burbank in 1972 when Johnny Carson was host.

"It's meant to attract shows to New York that are currently in other states that can generate economic revenue and tourism," says a Cuomo aide. "This is simply part of our ongoing effort to attract more entertainment to the state and more economic activity."

The credit only adds to reports that NBC is preparing to replace host Jay Leno with Jimmy Fallon and move it back to New York, with a new studio at 30 Rockefeller Plaza.

NBC has confirmed it's creating a new studio for Jimmy Fallon in New York, but didn't comment on the speculation.that it would be for a new 'Tonight Show'.

Leno referenced the rumors on his monologue Thursday night: "Are you all excited about March Madness? Are you all into March Madness?," he asked.

"People are talking about who's in, who's out, who's going to be eliminated. And that's just here at NBC. I have never been in the paper this much. It's fantastic."

March 22, 2013 |

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