The rush of summer production of reality television programming helped location filming in Los Angeles County reach record-high levels in 2004, though there are signs the pace may slow this year, according to year-end figures released today by the Entertainment Industry Development Corp.

EIDC, a non-profit that contracts with the city and county to process permits to film in L.A. and unincorporated areas, counted 52,707 total production days in 2004, up 19.2 percent over 2003.

Television production reached 18,257 days, up 26.8 percent from 2003. There were 8,707 feature film production days, 18.8 percent more than in 2003.

The increase in film production days stemmed what had been eight consecutive years of declining numbers. Film production peaked at 13,980 days in 1996.

For the year, reality programming accounted for 47.1 percent of television production, but that trend showed signs of cooling; in the October-December quarter reality programming accounted for 39 percent of TV production days in the region.

"We've only been breaking down TV numbers into categories since July, so we won't be 100 percent certain that the (fourth quarter) decrease is not just seasonal," said EIDC President Steve MacDonald. "The success of a show like 'Desperate Housewives' leads to more dramas. The same thing happened a few years ago with reality TV contest shows like 'Who Wants to be a Millionaire.'"

He said that television production over the last few years had been much less seasonal, in part because cable channels started running new shows when the networks were running reruns, leading to a year-round production schedule.

EIDC defines production days as a single crew shooting at a single location, so a show filming at five locations in the same day would count as five days.

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