Friday, July 8, 2011
SHOT IN TEXAS: Decision on 'Dallas' series looms
Larry Hagman and Linda Gray at the Texas Film Hall of Fame (crappy photo by me).
UPDATE: TNT PICKS UP DALLAS.
My SHOT IN TEXAS column from today's Dallas Morning News
Verdict on ‘Dallas’ TV series should come soon
By JOE O’CONNELL
Special to the Dallas Morning News
@joemoconnell on Twitter
When will TNT decide the fate of the new Dallas television series? The standard reply is “any day now,” and that day is looming.
A North Texas shoot is looking more than probable given a $235,000 economic development grant from the city of Dallas to add air conditioning to a property at 2901 S. Lamar in exchange for six months of free rent for a television or film project. Developer Jack Matthews owns the property.
The agreement asks TNT and Warner Horizon to let the city know about a North Texas shoot by July 15 and sets an Aug. 1 deadline, says Janis Burklund of the Dallas Film Commission.
“They’ve always said the show wouldn’t air until July 2012,” Burklund said. “People shouldn’t get too excited that there’s not an official announcement yet.”
The city agreement requires a TV or film project to go in by July 2012 or the grant will not be paid.
“It’s difficult to find a warehouse in the right part of town that has air conditioning and is not too loud,” Burklund said. “We wrote [the grant] obviously with Dallas in mind, but it could work for other television or film projects.”
The Dallas Film Commission estimates that each TV episode shot on location brings in $1 million in direct local spending. TNT has not said how many episodes of Dallas will be ordered.
The grant agreement rankled the Studios at Las Colinas management, particularly comments that their facility in Irving doesn’t have the space to accommodate Dallas. Burklund said she heard the size complaint from producers of both Dallas and Good Christian Belles. Pilots for both shot in North Texas, but the latter series will lens in Los Angeles.
“That is exactly what we are: a soundstage development,” said Jennifer Loeb King, vice president of business affairs for the studios. “Secondly, we are a private studio facility with no city dollars given ever to us in 30 years. With the economy the way it is, it just seems that the owner of South Lamar should foot the bill privately or get a loan or whatever but not use city tax dollars to put in air conditioning on a building he owns and can benefit from into the future even if the series is cancelled.”
The Studios at Las Colinas previously has rented space for production of Prison Break, The Deep End and Lone Star.
“We recognize that all projects will not utilize the Studios at Las Colinas,” Loeb King said. “We believe in fair competition and would have preferred an opportunity to show all that we have to offer.”
“The more we build the business in general, the more that will be here for everyone,” Burklund said of an additional studio facility. She added that additional projects continue to seriously consider North Texas as a location for shoots as early as fall.
Austin-based Alamo Drafthouse’s annual Rolling Road Show brings the inflatable screen poolside to the Day’s Inn on I-35 East in Hillsboro for a showing tomorrow of Bottle Rocket , the 1996 Wes Anderson film that shot at the location. It’s also part of efforts to keep the location from closing. More information is at drafthouse.com/movies/rrs_bottle_rocket/Austin. … One project that appears unlikely to shoot in Texas is Lone Ranger , a Disney film that scouted primarily in West Texas. The reinvention of the classic tale focusing on Tonto as portrayed by Johnny Depp is likely bound for Utah, sources say. More generous filming incentives appeared to tip the deal. … Carol Pirie steps down this summer as deputy director of the Texas Film Commission after 23 years — including multiple stints as acting film commish. She notes that Lonesome Dove was in production when she started, and she leaves just after rooting for Texas-shot The Tree of Life as it won the Palme d’Or at this year’s Cannes International Film Festival.