- Associated Press - Friday, January 20, 2017

CHICAGO (AP) - State officials say television and film production generated nearly a half-billion dollars in spending in Illinois last year.

The Illinois Film Office released the statistic Friday, saying the 2016 figure of $499 million represents a 51 percent increase over 2015. Film office officials say the state worked with 345 television, commercial and film projects and those projects generated nearly 13,400 job hires during 2016.

State officials credited Illinois’ success to having a strong talent pool, diverse shooting locations and competitive incentive program. Illinois offers a 30 percent tax credit.

TV shows like FOX’s “Empire” and NBC’s “Chicago Fire,” ”Chicago PD” and “Chicago Med” film in the state. That lineup is set to add “Chicago Justice,” which started filming in September. Online media services like Netflix and Amazon also air shows filmed in Illinois.

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