WBEZ | Ruth Ratny http://www.wbez.org/tags/ruth-ratny Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en 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 It's criminal: WGN expands 'Sports Central' into oblivion http://www.wbez.org/blog/robert-feder/its-criminal-wgn-expands-sports-central-oblivion <p><p style="text-align: center;"><a href="/sites/default/files/archives/blogs//Jim-Laski.jpg"><img height="225" width="400" src="/sites/default/files/archives/blogs//Jim-Laski.jpg" alt="" class="size-full wp-image-19072" /></a></p><p><code> </code> <code> </code> Robservations on the media beat:</p><ul> <li>Only in the bizarre up-is-down, black-is-white alternate universe of WGN-AM (720) would the cancellation of Chicago's longest running sports talk show be called an <em>expansion</em> of sports. &quot;WGN RADIO EXPANDS SPORTS COVERAGE AND ADDS NEW GENERAL TALK SHOW&quot; read the headline of a press release issued late Thursday by the Tribune Co.-owned news/talk station. As of April 12, &quot;Sports Central&quot; will be replaced from 7 to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday by a &quot;current events talk show&quot; fronted by <a href="/feder/2010/02/they-did-the-crimes-so-why-is-wgn-punishing-us/15707">convicted felon</a> (and manifestly unqualified radio rookie)&sbquo;&nbsp;<strong><a href="http://www.wgnradio.com/shows/jimlaski/">Jim Laski.</a> <span style="font-weight: normal;">What a disgrace.&sbquo;&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wgnradio.com/shows/sportscentral/wgnam-sportscentral-information,0,1106767.story"><strong>David Kaplan,</strong></a> who's hosted the weeknight sports franchise since 1997, will shift to Cubs post-game shows and other sports features. It's all the handiwork of obstinate program director <a href="/feder/2009/11/a-rude-pig-virus-infects-wgn-radio/8321"><strong>Kevin &quot;Pig Virus&quot; Metheny,</strong></a> who took on Laski, the former city clerk of Chicago who served 11 months in prison for accepting bribes, as a weekend host -- and his personal reclamation project. Said Metheny:</span></strong></li> </ul> <blockquote>&quot;In the past few months, Laski has built a strong track record on WGN.&sbquo;&nbsp; He's a fascinating character who was called to public service and eventually behaved criminally. He paid for his crime, is sincerely contrite and is moving on. He has a unique insider's perspective on life in and around Chicago.&quot;</blockquote> <ul> <li>WGN bosses cried foul last month when I <a href="/feder/2010/02/surprise-don-roma-chicagos-new-morning-faves/16088">reported here</a> that the station had lost in the morning-drive ratings for the first time ever to Citadel Broadcasting news/talk WLS-AM (890). They said I'd been misled. They said it was a mistake. They said I'd misread the numbers. Well, guess what? It happened again: WLS' <strong>Don</strong> and <strong>Roma Wade</strong> beat WGN's <a href="/feder/2010/03/whos-on-first-in-radio-it-depends-on-who-keeps-score/16486"><strong>Greg Jarrett</strong></a> among all listeners age 12 and older in just-released Arbitron figures for February.&sbquo;&nbsp;Any way you slice it&sbquo;&nbsp; -- &nbsp;from 6 to 10 a.m. (as Arbitron defines morning drive) or from 5 to 9 a.m. (the actual hours when Jarrett competes with the Wades) -- &nbsp;WLS comes out on top of WGN.</li> <li>After a year that saw <strong>Jerry Springer</strong> and <strong>Steve Wilkos</strong> move to Connecticut, and <strong>Oprah Winfrey</strong> announce the end of her Chicago-based talk show, the impending <a href="http://newsblogs.chicagotribune.com/towerticker/2010/03/disneyabc-to-cancel-at-the-movies-siskel-and-eberts-old-show.html">demise of &quot;At the Movies&quot;</a>&nbsp;marks another setback for Chicago productions on the national stage. For ABC-owned WLS-Channel 7, which has been the show's home base since 2001, it also means a loss of income from Disney-ABC Domestic Television and ABC Media Productions. &quot;We were both honored and thrilled to produce the show for nine years -- &nbsp;an achievement of which we can be very proud,&quot; said <strong>Emily Barr,</strong> president and general manager of Channel 7. Although the syndicated movie-review show never recovered from the departure of hosts <strong>Roger Ebert </strong>and <strong>Richard Roeper,</strong> at least it will die with dignity under <strong>Michael Phillips</strong> and <strong>Tony Scott.</strong> No word on what will replace it on Channel 7's lineup this fall, but a likely source of programming could be the <a href="http://www.wbez.org/feder/2010/01/even-in-tough-times-abc-7-succeeds-with-live-well-hd/11355">Live Well HD</a> digital channel.</li> <li><strong><a href="http://www.j2sc.com/joane.htm">J</a></strong><strong><a href="http://www.j2sc.com/joane.htm">oan Esposito,</a></strong>the former Chicago television news anchor, has agreed to speak publicly for the first time about her battle with cancer. In a story expected to air in May on Tribune Co.-owned WGN-Channel 9, Esposito will tell medical reporter <a href="http://www.wgntv.com/about/station/newsteam/dinabair/"><strong>Dina Bair</strong></a><strong> </strong>that she was diagnosed with lymphoma three years ago. It's now in remission. Bair, who worked with Esposito as an intern at Channel 7 and as a producer at NBC-owned WMAQ-Channel 5, also survived her own cancer battle with melanoma.</li> <li>At long last <strong>Roe Conn</strong> is expected to announce today that traffic reporter <a href="http://www.wlsam.com/Article.asp?id=152536&amp;spid=6789"><strong>Christina Filiaggi</strong></a><strong> </strong>will be returning to his afternoon show on WLS-AM. She could be back on as early as Monday. Filiaggi, who first joined Conn's show in 2001, was dropped in a budget cut in February 2008, brought back in June 2008, and dropped a second time in May 2009. Third time's the charm?</li> <li>Wedding bells are ringing this weekend for <a href="http://www.myfoxchicago.com/dpp/about_us/personalities/Tera_Bio"><strong>Tera Williams, </strong></a>who may be <strong>Mayor Richard Daley's</strong> <a href="http://www.myfoxchicago.com/dpp/news/metro/mayor-daley-tera-williams-video#transcript">least favorite</a> general assignment reporter at WFLD-Channel 32, and <a href="/feder/2009/11/ex-fox-anchor-fighting-back-after-firing/8157"><strong>Mike Barz,</strong></a> former anchor of the Fox-owned station's &quot;Good Day Chicago.&quot; Williams posted a note on <a href="http://www.travelersjoy.com/members/teraandmike/">TravelersJoy.com</a> that they're hoping to &quot;go sailing in the British Virgin Islands for one week&quot; on their honeymoon.</li> <li>One editor and one reporter will be hired by Chicago Public Radio WBEZ-FM (91.5) as part of an Upper Midwest Local Journalism Center funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, according to <a href="http://cpb.org/pressroom/release.php?prn=814">an announcement</a> Thursday. The center, one of seven across the country, will operate in partnership with Michigan Radio and Cleveland's Ideastream.</li> <li><strong>George Castle</strong> kicks off the 17th&sbquo;&nbsp;season of his &quot;Diamond Gems&quot; baseball talk show this weekend with the addition of on an online outlet at the Times of Northwest Indiana's <a href="http://nwitimes.com/">NWI.com.</a> It continues to air on WLBK-AM (1360) in DeKalb at 1 p.m. Saturdays, WIMS-AM (1420) in Michigan City at 6 p.m. Saturdays, WJOL-AM (1340) in Joliet at 4 p.m. Sundays, and on <a href="http://SLRNRadioSports.com/">SLRNRadioSports.com</a> at 11 a.m. Fridays. Castle's 11th baseball book, <em>When The Game Changed: An Oral History of Baseball's True Golden Age 1969-79,</em> will be published in September by Lyons Press.</li> <li><strong>Ruth L Ratny,</strong> publisher of <a href="http://reelchicago.com/">ReelChicago.com,</a> will receive the Chicago Legend Award April 15 at the Chicago International Film Festival's Hugo Television Awards. Ratny has been an outspoken supporter of Chicago's film and television production industry for decades.&sbquo;&nbsp;<strong>Dean Richards,</strong> entertainment reporter and critic for Channel 9, will host the event at the Hard Rock Hotel Chicago.</li> </ul></p> Fri, 26 Mar 2010 00:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/robert-feder/its-criminal-wgn-expands-sports-central-oblivion