Television Production in the District on the Upswing Amidst Troubling Economy

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Television Production in the District on the Upswing Amidst Troubling Economy. Several Promising TV Pilots and Special Televised Events Choose the Nation's Capital as its Backdrop.

The District of Columbia has attracted several major television projects to the city so far this year, boosting the local economy during a difficult economic climate. Historically, attracting lucrative television projects to the District has served as a source of local production jobs as well as business for local establishments such as hotels and restaurants, dry cleaners, casting agencies, catering companies and hardware stores.

New television productions set for 2011 include:

  • ‘Homeland’ is a new one-hour drama pilot from the Emmy Award winning executive producers of ‘24’. Showtime recently completed filming in the District for the series, which is loosely based on Gideon Raff’s Israeli television series ‘Prisoners of War,’ and stars Claire Danes and Mandy Patinkin.
  • ABC has ordered a script for a pilot episode of ‘Georgetown,’ a television drama series by The O.C. and Gossip Girl creator Josh Schwartz.
  • ‘Veep’, a comedy television series for HBO starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus as the Vice President will begin production this spring with filming dates in the District scheduled for early March.
  • ‘Potomac Fever,’ a new project from actor Rob Lowe and his production company 44 Blue Productions, follows the lives of young Washingtonians in media and politics. Lowe spent several days in the District in January filming the new television pilot for E! Entertainment Television.
  • TLC’s reality TV series ‘DC Cupcakes’ follows two sisters who own the popular Georgetown Cupcakes bakery. The show is currently in production for a second season after a successful initial run and will air Fridays at 10 PM ET beginning February 25.

“It is an exciting time for television production in the city and I am optimistic about what this means for attracting future television and film projects,” stated Mayor Vincent C. Gray.

Special televised events are also contributing to the uptick in production. 'The BET Honors' returned to the District for its 4th consecutive year honoring the achievements of six extraordinary African Americans in the areas of media, service, education and entertainment. This prestigious awards ceremony, which filmed in January and aired February 21, brought together hundreds of A-list celebrities and influential leaders in Hollywood and the African American community. On Thursday, February 24, PBS will film a tribute to American music legend Berry Gordy at the White House. President Barack Obama acknowledges Berry Gordy for his outstanding contribution to music by founding the prestigious Motown Records, which produced music legends such as Michael Jackson, Smokey Robinson, Diana Ross and Stevie Wonder over the past five decades. These two special televised events alone pulled in more than $1.5 million in expenditures for the city and nearly 250 jobs for local residents.

“Our goal is to get the thousands of D.C. residents who work in the film and television industry as actors, electricians, engineers, production assistants, etc. back to work on many of the projects that will be filming here in the District,” stated Crystal Palmer, Director of the Office of Motion Picture and Television Development for the District of Columbia.