Republicans are blasting the Minnesota Film and TV Board for a 267-thousand-dollar subsidy to the “Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon” when it aired from Minneapolis during the 2018 Super Bowl. State Representative Nolan West from Blaine says they reclassified the program from a “talk show” to “variety” so it would qualify for a state subsidy which he says wasn’t necessary. “They did the show in Arizona when they had Super Bowl rights. They did the exact same kind of show, and Arizona doesn’t have any sort of subsidy program and they still showed up and did the show,” says West, who is calling for House hearings on the so-called “Snowbate” subsidy program. Democrat Tim Mahoney says he won’t spend taxpayer dollars to hold a hearing right now because it isn’t necessary — but probably will have one next legislative session because it “did seem kind of silly” to give the Tonight Show a subsidy when they were coming to Minnesota anyway.
The head of the Minnesota Film and TV Board defends the subsidy. Melodie Bahan argues the program should be retooled and expanded to attract more films like “Grumpy Old Men”. Representative West disagrees. “To try and film in Minnesota, basically you have to be filming some sort of winter movie — and they’ll make their decisions based on what fits whatever they’re doing, more than the paltry sum we could offer them,” he says.