News & Opinion | July 18, 2018 5:00 am

Andrew Cuomo Uses Taxpayer Money to Keep Late Night Shows in NYC

He promised NBC and CBS tens of millions of dollars' worth of government incentives to stay in the city.

andrew cuomo
NY State Governor Andrew Cuomo speaks onstage during the 13th Annual UNICEF Snowflake Ball 2017. (Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for UNICEF)
Getty Images for UNICEF

Governor Andrew Cuomo does not want late night TV to leave the Big Apple. He promised NBC and CBS tens of millions of dollars’ worth of taxpayer-subsidized incentives to keep the shows in New York City, reports The New York Post. CBS received up to $16 million in tax credits and cash to keep The Late Show broadcasting from Manhattan after the May 2015 retirement of host David Letterman. That included, reports The New York Post, $5 million just to renovate the Ed Sullivan Theater on Broadway at West 53rd Street.

Cuomo claimed the funding would help preserve 200 local jobs, and the funding came from Empire State Development. But CBS has racked in the cash since, in part thanks to Trump taking office. Stephen Colbert and his focus on Trump’s administration has propelled the show ahead of the late-night competition. CBS touted a 22 percent increase in operating income from its entertainment division, reports The New York Post. 

Meanwhile, in terms of NBC, Como quietly inserted a provision into the 2013-14 budget that let The Tonight Show qualify for New York’s Film Production Tax Credit program. The show moved from Burbank, California to Rockefeller Plaza after Jay Leno left in 2014. The tax program covers 30 percent of The Tonight Show production costs and amounted to nearly $21 million on about $70 million in qualified spending during the program’s first year, writes the New York Post.