The cinematic chronicling of Frank Underwood's Machiavellian ways in House of Cards will continue in Maryland.
"Spoiler alert: we're going to keep the 3,700 jobs and more than 100 million dollars of economic activity and investment that House of Cards generates right here in Maryland," said the state's Gov. Martin O'Malley in a statement announcing the deal.
It was a victory of sorts for the Old Line State. Media Rights Capital had threatened to move operations out of Maryland if it did not receive $15 million in subsidies for the upcoming season.
House of Cards, however, will receive "only" $11.5 million from the state in 2014. The subsidy comes via a combination of Maryland's Film Production Tax Credit program and a General Assembly authorization of $7.5 million in grants in the state's fiscal year 2015 budget.
The political thriller, set in neighboring Washington, D.C., and starring Kevin Spacey as the unscrupulous politician Underwood, received $26 million in tax credits for filming its first two seasons in Maryland.
Production on Season 3 is expected to start in the next several months.
Not worth the tax price: Opponents of government subsidies for television and film projects say such tax arrangements are literal economic houses of cards.
The argument that productions provide substantial economic rewards are shaky, say critics, with shows often returning much less fiscally than promised to states and the local communities that host the productions.
Politicians, however, seem perpetually star-struck and despite some spectacular, and sometimes criminal, failures, continue to make deals to keep Hollywood types in their neighborhoods.
That's why Spacey made a trip to Annapolis, Maryland, last month to urge members of the General Assembly to financially support the production.
It looks like Underwood Spacey won again.
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