WBEZ | Boss http://www.wbez.org/tags/boss Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Studs Terkel's assistant remembers him fondly http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/studs-terkels-assistant-remembers-him-fondly-111050 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/scorpsss.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>&ldquo;The first time I met him (Studs Terkel) was right after I got to Chicago,&rdquo; Sydney Lewis says in this week&rsquo;s StoryCorps. &ldquo;I was waitressing at a nightclub and Studs was in my section. And it was very busy. It was very crowded and I was trying to get a drink order. And he started asking me questions: Where was I from? How long had I been in Chicago? What did I think of Chicago? And finally I said to him, &lsquo;Mr. Terkel, I read <em>Working</em>. And I loved <em>Working</em>. But I AM WORKING! What do you want to drink?&rsquo; So that was our first interaction and that sort of defines our relationship over the years.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;I had that first meeting with him and then I went applying for a job at WFMT and eventually I ended up becoming the program department administrative assistant,&rdquo; she says.&nbsp;</p><p>And over the next 25 years, Lewis got to know Studs and his wife Ida very well.</p><p>Lewis admits to feeling a little lost without him. She looked to Studs to explain the world to her, like a lot of people in Chicago, she says. She relied on him for that because he cut to the human issues involved each and every time.</p><p>&ldquo;When anything&rsquo;s happening on the news, I just long to know what he would say,&rdquo; Lewis says.</p><p>&ldquo;You could hear him coming down the hallway,&rdquo; she recalls of their days together at WFMT. &ldquo;He was always talking. He never shut up. I used to tease him and go, &lsquo;How do you get good interviews?&rsquo; Because I mean, logorrhea, he just would go on and on and on. Raving about some horrible political decision or some war somewhere or joblessness or poverty. Or very excited because he had a guest coming in and he was looking forward to talking to them.&quot;</p><p>&ldquo;I always felt like he had kind of a three-tiered mind: One part of it was talking to you, one part of it was working on the program or a book or whatever he was working on. And another part of it was looking at the whole world.&quot;</p><p>&ldquo;I jokingly describe myself as his nanny, but that was somewhat my role. I would know who he would want to hear from. And what kind of authors were not up his alley&hellip;So I was good at filtering for him. And grabbing the mail, coffee for the guests.&quot;</p><p>&ldquo;But you know there&rsquo;s the immensity of what he brought and there&rsquo;s the human being&hellip;He needed to be reminded that he wasn&rsquo;t the only person on the planet sometimes.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;We would fight, I would yell at him sometimes. The worst time was when I was quitting smoking and I was really irritable.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;He had this habit. He&rsquo;d come down the hallway. Everyday he&rsquo;d say,&lsquo;Whaddya hear? Whaddya say, kid?&rsquo; You know where that&rsquo;s from?&rsquo; I&rsquo;d say, &lsquo;Jimmy Cagney!&rsquo; &lsquo;Yeah!&rsquo; You know, 325 days a year this would happen. It was his little ritual. And I was really grumpy when I quit smoking. My colleague Lois could see him. He would approach. And I was in a little alcove. And he would peer around it to see what kind of mood I was in. And at one point he went to Lois and said, &lsquo;What happened to her?&rsquo; And Lois said, &lsquo;Oh she&rsquo;s just quitting smoking.&rsquo; And he went, &lsquo;Ohhh! OK!&rsquo; He was used to me playing with him. We were very playful together.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;After his heart surgery&hellip;.This was probably the first heart surgery, so Ida was still alive. The doctor comes out. Looking like hell. He&rsquo;s really tired and he&rsquo;s just, &lsquo;Man, they don&rsquo;t make &lsquo;em like that anymore.&rsquo; When Ida and I came down to see him, he was sitting up in a chair, having a little soup. He thought one of the monitors was a TV screen. So he&rsquo;s saying, &lsquo;Can we get the ball game on? Can we get the ball game on?&rsquo; He offers me soup, &lsquo;Would you like a little soup?&rsquo; I&rsquo;m like, &lsquo;No that&rsquo;s OK. You need the soup.&rsquo; And just to tease him I leaned forward and said, &lsquo;Who&rsquo;s the president?&rsquo; And he looked up and he went, &lsquo;Taft?&rsquo;&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;So here&rsquo;s a guy after like eight hours of open heart surgery and he&rsquo;s offering to share food with you, wanting to see the ball game and making jokes.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;Yeah, like the doctor said, &lsquo;They don&rsquo;t make &lsquo;em like that anymore.&rsquo;&rdquo;</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="450" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/playlists/6250422&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_artwork=true&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false" width="888px"></iframe></p></p> Fri, 31 Oct 2014 11:34:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/studs-terkels-assistant-remembers-him-fondly-111050 Chicago television blues http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett/2013-01/chicago-television-blues-104732 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Boss.jpg" title="Kelsey Grammer in the recently cancelled 'Boss' (AP/Chuck Hodes)" /></p><p>Chicago may be called The Second City, but in terms of television success, a number farther down the list would be more accurate.</p><p>As 2012 drew to a close, two Chicago-based TV shows were cancelled by their respective networks. <em>The Mob Doctor</em>, FOX&rsquo;s low-rated (and hilariously awful) drama about a surgeon working for the mafia, was <a href="http://blog.zap2it.com/frominsidethebox/2012/11/the-mob-doctor-canceled-at-fox-but-will-air-all-13-episodes-touch-premiere-moves-again.html">whacked</a> after just 13 episodes. <em>Boss</em>, another low-rated (but surprisingly riveting) drama starring Kelsey Grammer as a corrupt Daley-esque Chicago mayor,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.examiner.com/article/kelsey-grammer-s-boss-cancelled-by-starz-after-two-seasons">got the axe</a> after struggling to connect with viewers on Starz for two seasons.</p><p>Grammer claims that audiences shunned <em>Boss</em>&nbsp;in response to his own&nbsp;<a href="http://www.examiner.com/article/kelsey-grammer-believes-his-politics-may-have-let-to-boss-cancellation">right-leaning political beliefs</a>&nbsp;(a Fox News-style conspiracy theory that I don&#39;t buy for a second)&nbsp;and one could argue that abysmal writing was solely to blame for <em>The Mob Doctor</em>&rsquo;s demise. Still, the truth is that most TV shows filmed in Chicago don&rsquo;t last long, regardless of script quality or star power.</p><p><em>The Chicago Code</em>, an intense crime drama on FOX starring Jennifer Beals, was <a href="http://huffingtonpost.com/2011/05/11/chicago-code-canceled-fox_n_860449.html">cancelled</a> after just one season in May 2011. That same year, NBC&rsquo;s <em>The Playboy Club,&nbsp;</em>which, granted, was much less promising than <em>The Chicago Code,&nbsp;</em>was also <a href="http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2011-10-04/entertainment/chi-playboy-club-cancelled-20111004_1_episode-indie-film-cinespace">shut down</a> after only three episodes on the air.</p><p>Currently, MTV&rsquo;s <em>Underemployed</em> and NBC&rsquo;s <em>Chicago Fire </em>are holding on to their local film crews, despite <a href="http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2012-10-16/entertainment/chi-underemployed-mtv-television-review-20121016_1_mtv-plans-craig-wright-characters">mixed reviews</a> from critics and <a href="http://tv.yahoo.com/news/ratings-arrow-chicago-fire-tie-lows-whitney-matches-172921950.html">worryingly low ratings</a>. But if these shows don&rsquo;t step up their game and attract more viewers soon, they too will descend into the same cancelled TV purgatory.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="338" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/bi3h9z1YUVc" width="601"></iframe></p><p>On paper, Chicago seems like the perfect place to film a hit TV show: highly cinematic atmosphere, hardworking crews and a plethora of talented local actors to keep viewers on the edge of their seats. So why are shows like CBS&rsquo;s <em>The Good Wife</em> set in Chicago, but filmed elsewhere?</p><p>Unfortunately, logistical factors make filming in the Windy City more of a hassle than an advantage. Most film crews would rather shoot in locations like Los Angeles, New Orleans or Vancouver, where the taxes are lower and the weather much more reliable.</p><p>Even colder and more expensive cities like New York are preferable, with a multitude of soundtages available despite high production costs. Chicago has one big film studio, the beautiful <a href="http://www.chicagofilmstudios.com">Cinespace</a>&nbsp;on the Near West Side, but more widespread studio space could also allow more productions to be filmed indoors during the freezing winter months.</p><p>Thankfully, Chicago seems to have better luck with films. <em>Transformers: Dark Side of the Moon</em>&nbsp;was a literal disaster movie shot downtown during the summer of 2010 that created thousands of jobs for local film crews. And who could forget director Christopher Nolan taking over Chicago in the summer of 2007 with <em>The Dark Knight,</em>&nbsp;catapulting Batman off rooftops, sending the Joker careening through the streets and modeling Gotham&rsquo;s skyline after ours?</p><p>While television shows have floundered in comparison to the great films that have been made here, Chicagoans shouldn&rsquo;t lose hope. The ShowTime drama&nbsp;<em>Shameless</em>, which has been&nbsp;<a href="http://chicagobusiness.com/article/20120817/NEWS02/120819832/boss-brings-work-to-chicago-film-industry-during-tough-year">filming exterior locations</a>&nbsp;in Chicago since 2010, still reigns on cable as a critical darling. And who knows? Maybe a <em>Dark Knight</em> television series is just around the corner&hellip;</p><p><em>Follow Leah on Twitter <a href="http://twitter.com/leahkpickett" target="_blank">@leahkpickett</a></em></p></p> Mon, 07 Jan 2013 09:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett/2013-01/chicago-television-blues-104732 By way of introduction: What TV series' opening credits say about architecture and place http://www.wbez.org/blogs/lee-bey/2012-12/way-introduction-what-tv-series-opening-credits-say-about-architecture-and <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/kelsey grammar boss.jpg" alt="" /><p><p style="text-align: center;"><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="338" scrolling="no" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/ZFKHg5CP7pk" width="601"></iframe></p><p>I had a fascinating, but all-too-brief, chat earlier last week with a Texas architecture professor who uses the opening credits of television programs to teach her students about architecture and cities.</p><p>She&#39;s on to something. Architecture, history and place are often captured and contextualized &mdash; and quite well, too &mdash; in seconds&#39;-long intros. The professor&#39;s picks included the famous<em> Mary Tyler Moore Show</em> intro, but also that of <em>Frank&#39;s Place</em>, the short-lived, but still sorely-missed 1987 CBS comedy featuring Tim Reid as a Boston college professor who inherits his father&#39;s New Orleans restaurant:</p><p style="text-align: center;"><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="338" scrolling="no" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/kpig9t0VdEE" width="601"></iframe></p><p>A few weeks ago in my assessment of the now-canceled <em>Boss</em>, I mentioned<a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/lee-bey/2012-11/departed-boss-also-showcased-and-understood-power-chicagos-architecture-104010"> the program&#39;s opening credits</a>. But others come to mind now, such as the intro to <em>All in the Family</em>, with its&nbsp; shots of&nbsp; working-class Queens. Or the above intro to the 1970s comedy<em> Good Times</em> showing a grimy Chicago as it was then, not to mention the long-gone broadcast antenna atop Marina City and the now-bulldozed Cabrini Green housing projects.</p><p>Buildings and place are featured prominently in the BBC <em>Sherlock</em> series:</p><p style="text-align: center;"><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="338" scrolling="no" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/166WMvLQ8ss" width="601"></iframe></p><p style="text-align: center;">And dig the Brutalist campus a brooding Gary Collins strolls through in the early 1970s show <em>The Sixth Sense:</em></p><p style="text-align: center;"><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="338" scrolling="no" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/kWOhyvhXeKM" width="601"></iframe></p><p>Got any examples of architecture-rich TV intros you&#39;d like to share? Email them to me at lbey@wbez.org, along with a few lines explaining your selection. If I get enough responses, I&#39;ll do a follow-up here.</p></p> Wed, 26 Dec 2012 05:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/lee-bey/2012-12/way-introduction-what-tv-series-opening-credits-say-about-architecture-and Departed 'Boss' also showcased--and understood--the power of Chicago's architecture http://www.wbez.org/blogs/lee-bey/2012-11/departed-boss-also-showcased-and-understood-power-chicagos-architecture-104010 <p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="282" mozallowfullscreen="" src="http://player.vimeo.com/video/32712477?badge=0" webkitallowfullscreen="" width="500"></iframe></p><p>Chicago is architecture, history, power and politics -- often rolled into one. And there was a scene in the first season of the television show <em>Boss</em> that captured this better than anything I&#39;ve seen on the tube.</p><p>The show&#39;s main character, Chicago Mayor Tom Kane in a bravura performance by Kelsey Grammar, meets Illinois State Treasurer Ben Zajac on the green roof atop the city&#39;s real-life City Hall. With his arm around Zajac, played by Jeff Hephner, Kane looks out over the skyline and speaks of Democratic power broker, and later mayor, Anton Cermak. As Kane talks, the modern Chicago skyline vanishes and is slowly replaced by previous-turn-of-the-century buildings, effectively taking us back in time as the story of how Cermak unified warring ethnic factions in the city by bringing them into the tent -- and sharing the political spoils with each of them -- is weaved.</p><p>Current-day Chicago returns when Kane&#39;s story ends and the lesson learned. It was a masterful scene -- the kind of smart stuff <em>Boss</em> often did during its two-season run on Starz. The run ended last week when the network <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/starz-pulls-plug-chicago-drama-boss-103955">announced the show&#39;s cancelation.</a></p><p><em>Boss </em>understood Chicago&#39;s architecture and its poltically-charged built environment are important parts of the city&#39;s narrative, which makes the show&#39;s loss more unfortunate. Too many set-in-Chicago shows use architecture as window dressing. <em>Boss </em>knew buildings were about power. The second season&#39;s plot line involved razing a troubled public housing project and relocating its residents -- clearly inspired by the Chicago Housing Authority&#39;s oft-troubled <a href="http://www.thecha.org/pages/the_plan_for_transformation/22.php">Plan for Transformation</a>.</p><p>And consider the opening credits above. Here&#39;s the city&#39;s familiar skyline is foreboding as Robert Plant sings &quot;Satan, Your Kingdom Must Come Down.&quot; There are stories behind the beautiful walls of this city, the credits seem to say. But too bad <em>Boss </em>won&#39;t be around to tell more of them.</p></p> Mon, 26 Nov 2012 05:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/lee-bey/2012-11/departed-boss-also-showcased-and-understood-power-chicagos-architecture-104010 Starz pulls the plug on Chicago drama 'Boss' http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/starz-pulls-plug-chicago-drama-boss-103955 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/RS6706_AP1110060103247-scr.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Despite critical acclaim, the Starz network gave the Chicago-based drama <em>Boss</em> its walking papers on Tuesday.</p><p>In the politically charged series, Kelsey Grammer stars as a corrupt Chicago mayor whose administration is plagued by bribery, sex, and murder.&nbsp;</p><p>During the show&rsquo;s two season run, the producers of <em>Boss</em> stressed that the program was fiction, but some real-life stars of City Hall were big fans.</p><p>&ldquo;We joke about the show during breaks,&quot; Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd) chuckled, &quot;and then, based on the episode, we try to assign characters to real-life aldermen if we can.&quot;</p><p>Reilly says he and his colleagues loved the show&rsquo;s larger than life depiction of city politics.&nbsp;</p><p>&ldquo;We take it at face value,&quot; he said. &quot;This is fiction, [but] it&rsquo;s loosely based on the political realities that have existed in Chicago. I&rsquo;m not saying that Chicago is corruption-free by any stretch...but it doesn&#39;t bother me.&rdquo;</p><p>Reilly says <em>Boss</em> helped give Chicago a national profile by showing off some of the city&#39;s most iconic destinations..&nbsp;</p><p>&quot;In balance, that&#39;s good for Chicago,&quot; he said.</p><p>The cast and crew for <em>Boss</em> included over 150 locals. Since the show wrapped up production last summer, many have already moved on to new projects. Others are wondering if they should start searching for work somewhere else.</p><p>Chicago actress Anita Brown was a core background extra on Boss. She was hoping her screen time during season two would lead to a bigger role.&nbsp;</p><p>&ldquo;If season three had come back, it could have been that break I needed,&rdquo; she said.</p><p>Brown is considering looking for work in New York or Los Angeles this spring.</p><p>&ldquo;In Chicago we don&rsquo;t have a huge abundance of filming opportunities,&quot; she said.</p></p> Wed, 21 Nov 2012 08:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/starz-pulls-plug-chicago-drama-boss-103955 Chicago-style politics now a common trope of TV dramas http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-10/chicago-style-politics-now-common-trope-tv-dramas-103205 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/Promo Image.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>While accusations have been levied for years of certain politicians practicing &quot;Chicago-style politics,&quot; television dramas didn&#39;t fully embrace the subject until recent years. I would argue that the charges bandied about during Barack Obama&#39;s 2008 presidential run are largely responsible for the rise of this type of show.</p><p>First there was <em>The Good Wife</em>, a CBS hour-long drama that premiered in September of 2009, ten months after Obama&#39;s election and nine months after Governor Rod Blagojevich was arrested by the FBI, reinforcing all the claims of corruption Obama had fought throughout the campaign.</p><p>Here&#39;s star Julianna Margulies talking about her approach to politics, and family connections.</p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="349" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/0RI5D-bUo0s?rel=0" width="620"></iframe></p><p>Then in February 2011 Fox debuted <em>The Chicago Code</em>, a police drama that featured a corrupt alderman played by Delroy Lindo.</p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="349" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/DCxvfah20hw?rel=0" width="620"></iframe></p><p>Unlike <em>The Good Wife,</em> <em>The Chicago Code</em> was cancelled before it completed its first season.</p><p>It was only five later that TV viewers had a new fictional Chicago to explore, as Starz launched their ambitious drama <em>Boss</em> starring Kelsey Grammer. Easily the darkest of the three shows, <em>Boss</em> features a mayor loosely based on the Daley dynasty, plus lots of gratuitous sex scenes. Those scenes often feature Kathleen Robertson&#39;s character, who she says she also studied up on Chicago politics before taking on the role of mayoral cheif of staff.</p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="465" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/aTqm8ThrqYU?rel=0" width="620"></iframe></p><p>Kelsey Grammer won the Golden Globe for Best Actor in 2012, but was snubbed by the Emmy voters. What did the Republican actor attribute his loss to? Essentially Chicago-style politics. Here&#39;s <a href="http://www.politico.com/blogs/click/2012/08/grammer-suggests-emmy-snub-was-political-132184.html" target="_blank">a Politico piece</a> about Grammer&#39;s appearance on <em>The Tonight Show</em>:</p><blockquote><p>Asked to guess why he got snubbed, the actor said, &ldquo;Well, I mean it may have to do with several, several things honestly. But I think it&rsquo;s possible &ndash; I mean, I am a declared, out of the closet Republican in Hollywood.&nbsp; So, do I believe it&rsquo;s possible that some young voting actor or even older voting member for the Emmys would sit there and go, &lsquo;That&rsquo;s a great performance, but I hate everything he stands for?&rsquo;&rdquo;</p><p>He added sarcastically, &ldquo;I don&rsquo;t believe that&rsquo;s possible.&rdquo;</p></blockquote></p> Wed, 17 Oct 2012 13:02:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-10/chicago-style-politics-now-common-trope-tv-dramas-103205 Is Chicago Hollywood on the lake? Or the Great White Way? Or...something? http://www.wbez.org/blog/bez/2012-03-13/chicago-hollywood-lake-or-great-white-way-orsomething-97240 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//blog/photo/2012-March/2012-03-13/6126614089_685f4bb7fc.jpg" alt="" /><p><div class="inset"><div class="insetContent"><p><span style="font-size:10px;">Listen to this conversation</span></p><p>&nbsp;</p><div class="mediaelement-audio"><audio class="mediaelement-formatter-identified-1336773884-0" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/sites/default/files/TV Film and break room 1-1.mp3">&nbsp;</audio></div></div></div><p>When it comes to having a burgeoning television industry, sometimes it feels like Chicago's on a bit of a rollercoaster. As quickly as <a href="http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2012-03-07/entertainment/chi-a-notsorosy-picture-behind-scenes-on-rosie-20120307_1_oprah-winfrey-s-harpo-studios-oprah-winfrey-network-o-donnell"><em>The Rosie Show</em> said goodbye to us</a>&nbsp;and the future of OWN seemed precarious, Steve Harvey <a href="http://www.wbez.org/story/steve-harvey-host-new-tv-show-chicago-97219">said he'd be coming to save the day</a>.</p><p>And that’s just the talk shows. In the coming weeks, several new shows and second seasons will start filming, because it's our version of pilot season!&nbsp;<em>Boss</em> is <a href="http://reelchicago.com/article/boss-season-2-renewal-means-hundreds-local-jobs">back</a>, after it was renewed almost immediately by Starz.<a href="http://www.avclub.com/chicago/articles/chicago-fire-a-new-series-from-law-and-orders-dick,68527/">&nbsp;<em>Chicago Fire</em></a>, a new show from <em>Law and Order</em> creator Dick Wolf, will film its pilot in the next few weeks. There's also the "Untitled Sony Pictures Television Pilot," a<a href="http://www.tvline.com/2012/02/jordana-spiro-mob-medical-drama-fox/"> medical show starring Jordana Spiro </a>(she was last seen in another Chicago-wannabe sitcom,<em> My Boys</em>). And last is <a href="http://www.reelchicago.com/article/mtv-s-underemployed-series-joins-boss-here-spring">MTV's <em>Underemployed</em></a>, (which has had <a href="https://www.facebook.com/events/205401889481275/">its own set of controversies</a>) from Craig Wright, who has been a part of shows like<em> Dirty Sexy Money</em>,<em> Six Feet Under</em> and <em>Lost</em>, and is an ensemble member of A Red Orchid Theater.</p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2012-March/2012-03-13/6126614089_685f4bb7fc.jpg" style="margin-right: 10px; margin-top: 10px; margin-bottom: 10px; float: left; width: 368px; height: 400px; " title="Extras filming on location for 'The Playboy Club' (Flickr/Seth Anderson)">But all of that excitement is dampened by the memory of highly-touted (or at least highly publicized) shows like NBC's <em>T<a href="http://www.wbez.org/story/nbc-cancels-playboy-club-92813">he Playboy Club&nbsp;</a></em><a href="http://www.wbez.org/story/nbc-cancels-playboy-club-92813">essentially crashing and burning</a> last year. "Is it a moral killer? Yeah," said the&nbsp;<em>Chicago Tribune</em>'s Nina Metz when we talked to her before the show. But the city still made money off of it, about the financial equivalent of a film shooting here.</p><p>Betsy Steinberg, managing director of the Illinois Film Office, says that it's a highly volatile business, whether you're in Chicago, New York or Los Angeles. She cited FOX's&nbsp;<em>The Chicago Code</em>, whose cancellation disappointed many (just look at the comments on <a href="http://www.wbez.org/story/chicago-code-canceled-city-loses-25-million-86390">this article</a>), and came as a surprise to industry insiders, given the track record of creator Shawn Ryan on shows like <em>The Shield</em>. But Steinberg will admit that because of that smaller market,&nbsp;“You feel it more [when a show doesn’t get picked up in Chicago] than either L.A. and New York.”</p><p>Producers like Ruth Ratny, who runs the industry website <a href="http://www.reelchicago.com/">Reel Chicago</a>, believe the city should be doing more to get the revenue in and build the industry here. On some level, Chicago is facing an uphill battle: Shows like Showtime's <em>Shameless </em>film part-time here, but as Ratny points out, they do mostly exterior shots because "actors don't want to uproot their families. And you can't blame them."</p><p>And then there's all the sitcoms that frustrate local fans because they get all the details wrong; <em>Happy Endings</em>, <em>Whitney</em>, <em>Mike &amp; Molly</em> all seem to have picked Chicago because the creators were looking for an alternative to L.A. and New York, and we're a good alternative. Sitcoms will always shoot in L.A., because it's a more "efficient factory system," Metz explained. Unless, of course, there is "a star with enough leverage to force it" to be filmed elsewhere.</p><p>But no matter whether a show does well or not, the same production companies do continue to come back to Chicago. "FOX isn’t not interested in putting shows here because one of their shows did badly," said Metz about a show like<em> Chicago Code</em>. Metz, Ratny and Steinberg will join Steve Edwards on <em>Afternoon Shift</em> to discuss this season in television and how Chicago is doing as far as getting television in as a dependable revenue stream.</p><p>Of course, the future of the industry might be where we don't even recognize it. Some of the more established documentary houses are here, like Kartemquin and Towers Productions.&nbsp;(In fact, Kartemquin&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/#%21/Kartemquin/status/179254539378098176">specifically asked us not to</a>&nbsp;forget docs in this discussion. Noted.)&nbsp;But documentaries and less-popular reality shows aren't exactly bringing big money to any one, whether they're in Chicago or not. And time will tell if projects like<a href="http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2012-02-24/entertainment/ct-mov-0224-chicago-closeup-20120224_1_hbo-pilot-netflix">&nbsp;the pilot being developed by HBO</a>&nbsp;for online streaming will take off as a way for everyone to spend a little money and make a lot. Who knows, though: Television might make Chicago the new Great White Way...or something.</p></p> Tue, 13 Mar 2012 17:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/bez/2012-03-13/chicago-hollywood-lake-or-great-white-way-orsomething-97240 Daily Rehearsal: Jonathan Groff, Sanaa Lathan join 'Boss' http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2012-02-07/daily-rehearsal-jonathan-groff-sanaa-lathan-join-boss-96175 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//blog/photo/2012-February/2012-02-07/AP070604043771.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><span style="font-size: 14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;"><strong>1. <em>Clybourne Park</em> will apparently go on</strong></span></span>;&nbsp;Jordan Roth (president of Jujamcyn Theaters, owner of the Walter Kerr theater)&nbsp;released a statement last week <a href="http://popwatch.ew.com/2012/02/03/clybourne-park-moves-ahead/">where he said</a> “It is a true privilege for all of us at Jujamcyn to bring such a fiercely provocative and wildly funny work to Broadway audiences.&nbsp;Clybourne Park&nbsp;is on. We’ll see you there!” Cool.</p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2012-February/2012-02-07/AP070604043771.jpg" style="margin-right: 10px; margin-top: 10px; margin-bottom: 10px; float: left; width: 300px; height: 200px;" title="Groff with Lea Michele in 'Spring Awakening' (AP /Jeffrey Richards Associates, Monique Carboni)"><span style="font-size: 14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;"><strong>2. Relatively recent addition to Luna Negra</strong></span></span>, artistic director&nbsp;Gustavo Ramírez Sansano, was <a href="http://www.chicagomag.com/Chicago-Magazine/February-2012/Meet-Gustavo-Ramirez-Sansano-Luna-Negras-New-Artistic-Director/">profiled in <em>Chicago Magazine</em></a>. Laura Molzahn points out that Sansano's had a big role in pushing the company to a more European style from their original Latin American flare under founder&nbsp;Eduardo Vilaro. You can see Sansano's influence&nbsp;featured in Luna Negra's first big piece,&nbsp;<em>Carmen.maquia</em>, at the Harris Theater in March.</p><p><span style="font-size: 14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;"><strong>3. <em>Boss </em>has hired from the theatrical poo</strong></span></span><strong>l again</strong>, but one that's larger than the city it shoots in. Jonathan Groff (of <em>Glee</em>, <em>Spring Awakening</em>) and Sanaa Lathan (of looking beautiful, especially with Simon Baker in <em>Something New</em>)<a href="http://nymag.com/daily/entertainment/2012/02/jonathan-groff-signs-on-to-boss.html"> join as</a> Kelsey Grammer's staffer and chief of staff, respectively. Where will they hang out upon a move, temporary or not, to the second city? Where should they hang out?</p><p><span style="font-size: 14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;"><strong>4. <em>I Made America</em> will be at the aptly named and appropriately chosen Rebel Bar and Grill</strong></span></span> on February 17 (the Friday before President's Day) celebrating George Washington, with Thomas Jefferson making an appearance. What is <em><a href="http://imadeamerica.com/events/george-washingtons-birthday-party-with-hosted-bar-from-8-9pm/">I Made America</a></em>? "A&nbsp;transmedia comedy show&nbsp;about six founding fathers kidnapped from their time to be used as props in the upcoming 2012 election. After discovering the differences between these men and today’s politicians (on top of their foolishness) they are cut off, leaving them penniless, unemployed and alone in Chicago." Highjincks insue.</p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/RL6Qoz2YDg0?modestbranding=0&amp;showinfo=0&amp;showsearch=0&amp;wmode=opaque&amp;playlist=JKj5Km18KQ0,tn2tYD8ohx4,aIHPF1Xyass,aIHPF1Xyass" width="576" frameborder="0" height="354"></iframe></p><p><span style="font-size: 14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;"><strong>5.&nbsp;Black Box Acting has started a second school</strong></span></span>, joining The Studio, called The Academy, a nine-month acting conservatory program. Applications accepted starting today through April 20, for class in September.&nbsp;"The Academy is nine-months of blood, sweat and tears that will revolutionize a student's acting process,"&nbsp;said Black Box Co-Founder&nbsp;Audrey Francis in a statement. Well alright then.</p><p>Questions? Tips? Email <a href="mailto:kdries@wbez.org">kdries@wbez.org</a>.</p></p> Tue, 07 Feb 2012 16:49:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2012-02-07/daily-rehearsal-jonathan-groff-sanaa-lathan-join-boss-96175 Daily Rehearsal: 'Boss' casts locally http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-07-05/daily-rehearsal-boss-casts-locally-88731 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//blog/photo/2011-July/2011-07-05/boss-banner.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>1. <strong><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;">A little belated, but Michelle Williams</span></span></strong> was <a href="http://twitter.com/#%21/steppenwolfthtr">spotted at <em>Middletown </em>last week</a>. And yes, that's Michelle Williams of <em>Dawson's Creek</em> fame, not the other D.C., <em>Destiny's Child</em>.</p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-July/2011-07-05/RobSwimming01.jpg" style="width: 286px; height: 400px; margin: 10px; float: left;" title="Get behind 'The Front Page' with this guy"><strong><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;">2. TimeLine's <a href="http://www.timelinetheatre.com/front_page/index.htm"><em>The Front Page</em></a> has been extended through July 17</span></span></strong>, and WBEZ's own Rob Wildeboer is involved. No, he won't be acting, but he's among several Chicago news reporters who will be present for a post-show discussion&nbsp;<em>Exclusive! Chicago’s Top Reporters on&nbsp;</em>The Front Page<em>: Same Story, Different Century </em>on July 10. Rob will be joined by&nbsp;Elizabeth Brackett (WTTW), Janan Hanna (Reuters, Chicago News Coop, Huffington Post), Paul Meincke (WLS-TV), and Lester Munson, all of whom have covered the Blagojevich trial.</p><p><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><strong>3. There were live performances of the Declaration of Independence</strong></span></span> <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-06-29/daily-rehearsal-start-planning-your-4th-july-88498">this weekend</a>, but every year, NPR's&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-07-03/reading-declaration-independence-aloud-88697">Morning Edition reads it aloud</a> on-air on the Fourth of July. It's slow and steady and <em>serious</em>, and takes about 9 minutes.</p><p><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><strong>4. Mary Hollis Inboden is having her day in the sun</strong></span></span>; the Southern-born actress is currently starring in <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-06-27/daily-rehearsal-5-lesbians-eating-quiche-88391"><em>5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche</em></a>, and though her <a href="http://timeoutchicago.com/arts-culture/unscripted-blog/213085/spot-chicago-actors-on-the-chicago-code">role at Jennifer Beals' assistant</a> on <em>The Chicago Code</em> ended with the shows cancellation, she's moved over to the Kelsey Grammer helmed&nbsp;<a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/entertainment/movies/ct-mov-0701-chicago-closeup-20110702,0,4360930.column"><em>Boss</em></a>. She's part of a grand tradition of Chicago actors on the show, which has tried to be anti-<em>The Good Wife</em> and shoot locally.</p><p><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><strong>5. <a href="http://www.wbez.org/story/joffrey-ballet-planning-lock-out-dancers-88702">Labor disputes</a> between Joffrey dancers and the company continue</strong></span></span>; after news broke of a lockout this weekend, union organizers are now arguing that it's just an attempt to gain publicity and pressure the dancers into bending to their will. Let's hope this all ends peacefully, folks.</p><p>Questions? Tips? Email <a href="mailto:kdries@wbez.org">kdries@wbez.org</a>.</p></p> Tue, 05 Jul 2011 15:48:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-07-05/daily-rehearsal-boss-casts-locally-88731 'Chicago Code' is canceled; city loses $25 million http://www.wbez.org/story/chicago-code-canceled-city-loses-25-million-86390 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//story/photo/2011-May/2011-05-11/THE CHICAGO CODE Illinois Governor Pat Quinn (L) visits the set of THE CHICAGO CODE Thursday, September 16 in Chicago. Also pictured Executive Producer Shawn Ryan (C) and Jennifer Beals (R).jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Fox Broadcasting Company announced the cancellation of five new shows this season on Tuesday, <a href="http://www.hitfix.com/blogs/whats-alan-watching/posts/fox-cancels-the-chicago-code">including&nbsp;<em>The Chicago Code</em></a>, a police drama set and filmed locally.</p><p>Rich Moskal, director of the Chicago Film Office, reported that production of the pilot and first 12 episodes of <em>Chicago Code</em> generated an estimated $25 million for the city in production-related costs.</p><p>“Losing that is disappointing,” Moskal said. “What’s tremendous about television series like <em>Chicago Code</em> is how consistently they’re contributing to the local economy.”</p><p>Moskal says despite the attention paid to the film industry, shooting a television series can be far more lucrative for a city than a movie. &nbsp;That's, in part, because a television show creates work and purchases goods and services over an extended period of time. &nbsp;But he said the local acting community was probably the most visible beneficiary of the <em>Code</em>’s presence, calling the new roles created every episode a tremendous opportunity for actors. &nbsp;</p><p>Even so, all is not lost for Chicago.</p><p>"We're in a fortunate position of not having all our eggs in one basket," Moskal said.&nbsp;</p><p>That's because <em>Chicago Code</em>&nbsp;is not the only show being filmed in Chicago right now. &nbsp;The new&nbsp;Starz show&nbsp;<em>Boss,&nbsp;</em>starring Kelsey Gramer as a fictional Chicago mayor<i>, </i>began filming a few weeks ago, as did the highly touted <em>Playboy </em>from NBC. Moskal believes signs look good for <em>Playboy</em>'s future, given its “cool factor” (the show has piggybacked off the current popularity of <em>Mad Men</em> by looking at the lives of Playboy bunnies in the 1960s).</p><p>Moskal also mentioned <a href="http://www.thefutoncritic.com/news/2011/04/20/starz-kelsey-grammers-boss-announces-casting-and-start-of-production-today-331213/20110420starz01/"><em>Powers</em></a>, a pilot about detectives who deal with superhero homicides, based off the comic of the same name. <em>Powers </em>is attached to FX, and is set to start filming in July.&nbsp;</p><p>On Tuesday, Governor Pat Quinn met with Kelsey Grammer and the producers of <em>Boss </em>to celebrate the opening of a new film and television studio at Cinespace Chicago Film Studios. The state is investing $5 million in the project, which will become the largest facility of its kind outside of Hollywood and &nbsp;has enough space to accommodate three to six productions at a time. It's estimated to create thousands of new jobs.</p><p>In 2010, the Illinois Film Office (IFO) reported $161 million in spending, and more than 8,000 job hires. Managing Director of IFO,&nbsp;Betsy Steinberg, said that though they were disappointed with the cancellation&nbsp;of&nbsp;<em>Chicago Code</em>, IFO was not concerned about the future of Cinespace.</p><p>"You know,&nbsp;series television is not for the faint of heart. It’s always, always a rollercoaster.&nbsp;The studio is, I believe, going to be busy regardless," Steinberg noted. "[The cancellation] does not spell disaster for the community."</p><p><em>The Chicago Code</em> was critically well-received, and starred Jennifer Beals as the police department's first female superintendent. It paid homage to Chicago's corrupt political history with several character arcs, including one that featured Delroy Lindo as&nbsp;a corrupt alderman. Its ratings had been waffling, however, for several weeks, leaving its future uncertain.</p><p>Responding to the news of cancellation last night, creator Shawn Ryan, a native of Rockford, IL, tweeted that <em>The Chicago Cod</em>e will be finishing out its season, with the final two episodes airing in the next two weeks.</p><p>"Fox suits loved the show, but have a business to run," <a href="http://twitter.com/#%21/ShawnRyanTV">he tweeted</a>.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><em>Updated 5/11/11 @10:40pm&nbsp;</em><em>Previous version was updated to correct typographical errors and to reflect that the Fox announcement was made on Tuesday.</em></p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Wed, 11 May 2011 16:29:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/chicago-code-canceled-city-loses-25-million-86390