WBEZ | Kelsey Grammer http://www.wbez.org/tags/kelsey-grammer Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en 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 '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