October 4, 2011 by Mike McNamara
MTV PILOT PICKED UP: MTV has announced plans to pick up two scripted series and one of them is “Underemployed.” The pilot filmed in Chicago… no word yet on where the series is shooting but we’re hoping for the best. “Underemployed” comes from Emmy-nominated executive producer Craig Wright (“Brothers & Sisters”) and chronicles the trials of post-college life. Wright’s stage plays are also popular in Chicago, most recently “Mistakes Were Made,” which made its world premiere at A Red Orchid Theatre before embarking on a successful off-Broadway run.
BOSS IS BACK! Ahead of its first season debut, Starz has renewed "Boss,” which stars Kelsey Grammer as a Chicago mayor hiding a deteriorating mental condition. The network has ordered a 10-episode second season, up from the first season run of eight, with production set to begin in Chicago in early 2012. Grammer has been generating buzz for his performance as powerful and ruthless mayor Tom Kane. You can see for yourself when the series premieres October 21 on Starz.
THE NEXT DREAMGIRLS? The Motown musical “Sparkle” is set to begin shooting in Michigan later this fall. "American Idol" champ Jordin Sparks will star in the feature about a musical sister act in 1960s Detroit. Cast includes Derek Luke (“Antwone Fisher”), Mike Epps (“Friday”), Grammy winner Cee-Lo Green and (she’s back!) Whitney Houston in her first starring role in fifteen years (she’s also on as executive producer). The original "Sparkle" – filmed in New York in the 70’s - is widely thought to have inspired the Oscar-winning 2006 film "Dreamgirls," which mirrored the true story of Diana Ross and the Supremes. The original “Sparkle” starred Irene Cara and Philip Michael Thomas. Yep, I think it’s ok to remake a flick that had “Tubbs” as its star…
UPDATE ON THE NEW MICHIGAN: To date, just over $23 million in incentives for sixteen projects have been approved on $55.7 million in projected in-state spending. The Michigan Film Office has been operating for most of the year under a $25 million cap proposed in February by Governor Rick Snyder and then signed into law for the fiscal year 2012 budget.
SHAMELESS SWINGS THROUGH: The Showtime series “Shameless” will be back in Chicago this November filming scenes for its second season… Cast includes William Macy, Emmy Rossum and everyone’s favorite Evanstonian Joan Cusack.
FINAL THOUGHTS: Take a guess at the highest paid man in entertainment this year. Made your pick? Can you believe it’s… Tyler Perry?!? The man behind all those “Madea” movies (and “Meet the Browns,” which did shoot in Chicago) pulled in a staggering $130 million between May 2010 and May 2011, earning him the top spot on Forbes' highest-paid men in entertainment list. Rounding out the richest five are: "Pirates of the Caribbean" producer Jerry Bruckheimer (No. 2, $113 million), Steven Spielberg (No. 3, $107 million), Sir Elton John (No. 4, $100 million) and (sigh) Simon Cowell (No. 5, $90 million). I guess people really do like those “Madea” romps…
Is your film heading into production? Please drop me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell me all about it. I’ll do my best to include it in “The Call Sheet.”
Mike McNamara is the Co-Founder of The Midwest Independent Film Festival. Follow the fest at www.facebook.com/midwestfilm. Mike pays his rent as an actor in Chicago in theatre, commercials, television and film. More from Mac at www.findmac.com.