Monty Python's Spamalot and Twelve Angry Men earned the prizes for best new musical and best play at the Touring Broadway Awards, which were held April 14 in Manhattan. Actor Brad Little, who has played on Broadway and toured extensively with Phantom of the Opera, earned the Touring Broadway Achievement Award. Meantime, the Helen Hayes Awards, which honor theatre in the Washington, D.C., area, have announced that Sir Derek Jacobi will receive the Helen Hayes Tribute for his "profound and lasting contribution to the theatre" when the trophies are presented April 28.
The ratings have been mixed for new episodes returning to the air after a lengthy delay caused by the writers strike. According to Nielsen estimates, ABC's Desperate Housewives dropped 22 percent from its last original episode, which aired in January. Although CBS sitcoms came back strong, its CSI: NY didn't do as well when it returned, and neither did NBC's ER. However, for the week that ended April 6, CBS averaged 11.5 million viewers a night, equal to its figure for the same week last year, and advertisers were encouraged by the numbers, Mediaweek reported.
Facing competition from nearby states, New York state lawmakers approved a measure April 9 that triples the tax credit available to film and TV productions that shoot in the state. When that credit is combined with a 5 percent tax credit from New York City, producers who film in the five boroughs will receive a 35 percent credit on below-the-line costs. According to a February report in Crain's New York Business, in 2007 the state lost about $400 million in feature film revenue to Connecticut and a combined $350 million to Rhode Island and Massachusetts. Across the country, states have recently instituted or increased production credits; Arizona raised its level to 30 percent in January.
Time Warner laid off 450 employees at New Line Cinema's New York and Los Angeles offices April 14, leaving the company with 40–50 employees remaining at the studio as it's retooled into a genre-oriented label within Warner Bros. The downsizing, which continued through April 15, will save $50 million annually. The revamped New Line will have a small development and production team along with marketing, publicity, and business affairs execs. (The Hollywood Reporter)
The New York Theatre Workshop, forced to trim its operating budget by more than 20 percent, will lay off its six-person production staff May 30 and hire a crew on a show-by-show basis, The New York Times reported. The move was prompted by the impending loss of Broadway royalties when Rent closes later this year and by a scheduling change: For 2008-09, the theatre will halve its normal run of six full-scale productions and complete the slate with three concert versions of Off-Broadway musicals.