Pam Zekman among those laid off at WBBM CBS-2

The economic impact of Covid-19 has hit CBS News and its Chicago affiliate WBBM CBS-2 in a big way. After 39 years of delivering award-winning investigative stories, iconic Pam Zekman was laid off. Zekman shared two Pulitzer prizes for her work at the Chicago Tribune, from 1971 to 1976, and the Sun-Times, from 1976 to … Continue reading “Pam Zekman among those laid off at WBBM CBS-2”

BCBS commits $3 Billion to members and first responders

The Blue Cross Blue Shield Association (BCBSA) announced that the network of 36 independent and locally-operated Blue Cross and Blue Shield (BCBS) companies and the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Federal Employee Program (FEP), have committed nearly $3 billion to date in support of members, health care workers and local communities to aid in the ongoing fight against … Continue reading “BCBS commits $3 Billion to members and first responders”

Murphy finds the right color / contrast for CBS’ ‘Evil’

Exploring the line between religion and science form the foundation for CBS’s new mystery series Evil from creators Robert and Michelle King. The show, which has already been picked up for a second season, stars Katja Herbers as Kristen Bouchard, a forensic psychologist who joins a priest-in-training (played by Mike Colter) as they investigate the … Continue reading “Murphy finds the right color / contrast for CBS’ ‘Evil’”

CBS orders Ava DuVernay drama “The Red Line”

More great news to end the week for the Chicago production community. The Red Line — a drama series produced by Ava DuVernay (Wrinkle in Time) and Greg Berlanti (Supergirl, The Flash) — has been green lit for the fall by CBS. Warner Bros. Television, where Berlanti Productions is based, is the studio. Written by … Continue reading “CBS orders Ava DuVernay drama “The Red Line””

Oddball hosts don’t yet mesh on new CBS morning show

What is it about CBS and round tables?  When it comes to conceptualizing talk shows, somebody there must be hooked big time on seating people in a circle. 

On Wednesday, that thought sprang to mind as we were watching  “CBS This Morning,” the CBS network’s latest stab at getting a morning show right.  For years CBS has been a perennial third-place finisher behind NBC and ABC in the network morning show competition.

Lovecraft Country represents Chicago with two Emmy wins

Last night, the 73rd Emmy Awards were held with Cedric the Entertainer hosting on CBS. While most of the big Emmy news for Chicago will be pointed (deservedly so) toward Ted Lasso’s Jason Sudeikis’, who studied here at the IO Theater, Second City and Anonymous, and co-creator, co-star and Chicagoan Brendan Hunt’s wins, another Chicago-based … Continue reading “Lovecraft Country represents Chicago with two Emmy wins”

Rare 9/11 footage of Carol Marin at collapse of the towers

Media Burn, Chicago’s independent video archive, has rare footage of the harrowing experience of Chicago news correspondent, Carol Marin who was at the scene as the second tower collapsed. Twenty years ago, viewers across the U.S. and around the globe watched in horror as the moments immediately following the September 11th, 2001 terrorist attacks unfolded … Continue reading “Rare 9/11 footage of Carol Marin at collapse of the towers”

Chicago Entertainment Lawyer, Linda Mensch dies in tragic accident

Linda Mensch, Chicago entertainment attorney at the firm Mandell Menkes LLC, and board member with A Safe Haven, the homelessness prevention organization, died last week in a hit-and-run while leaving the Garfield Park Conservatory. Witnesses said that Mensch and a friend were crossing the street in the 300 block of North Central Park Avenue, near … Continue reading “Chicago Entertainment Lawyer, Linda Mensch dies in tragic accident”

Explore welcomes director Jane Chow to roster

Commercial and digital content production company Explore announces the addition of Jane Chow to their roster for representation, directing commercials and digital content across all mediums. Born in Hong Kong, Jane first learned English by absorbing herself in streaming and internet culture. She used her self-taught editing & color grading creativity to gain over 500,000 … Continue reading “Explore welcomes director Jane Chow to roster”

WBBM-Channel 2 Station Manager fired for misconduct

Derek Dalton, president and general manager of WBBM-Channel 2 was ousted Thursday from his position, as part of the pruning of top management at CBS-owned stations in Chicago, New York and Los Angeles. This followed a six-month investigation into alleged wrong-doing within CBS’ stations group Robert Feder reports.   The moves continue an impressive management makeover … Continue reading “WBBM-Channel 2 Station Manager fired for misconduct”

Hanako Greensmith returns as Chicago Fire series regular

After we reported the news that Chicago Fire Series Regular, Adriyan Rae exited Chicago Fire on “great terms” at the end of March, fans have been anxiously anticipating to hear if Violet would officially become a permanent fixture on the NBC hit show. It was announced by TVLine on Friday that Hanako Greensmith, who plays … Continue reading “Hanako Greensmith returns as Chicago Fire series regular”

Lester Holt to be inducted into Broadcasting Hall of Fame

Award-winning journalist Lester Holt will be inducted into the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) Broadcasting Hall of Fame for his contributions to broadcast television at the 2021 NAB Show, held October 9–13 in Las Vegas. Holt will accept the honor at the NAB Show Welcome event on Monday, October 11 at 9 a.m. PDT. Holt serves as the anchor and managing … Continue reading “Lester Holt to be inducted into Broadcasting Hall of Fame”

Our Top 10 list of the best TV shows set in Chicago

As we say goodbye to our favorite heroes from One Chicago for the summer, it’s fun to look back on all the amazing TV shows set in the Windy City over the years. Chicago has been a production powerhouse for decades and has given us some of the best movies and TV shows that were … Continue reading “Our Top 10 list of the best TV shows set in Chicago”

Optimus promotes Joanna Woods to Executive Producer

Leading production and post house Optimus today announced it has promoted Joanna Woods to executive producer (EP). Woods joined Optimus from Beast/Company 3/Method Studios as a senior producer in 2018 along with Editors Angelo Valencia, Matt Glover and Emily Hayes and VFX Supervisor Ryan Wood. Woods has post-produced campaigns for brands including Allstate, AutoZone, BCBS, … Continue reading “Optimus promotes Joanna Woods to Executive Producer”

The Parker Andersons & Amelia Parker Chicago-based duo

BYUtv, a family entertainment network available over cable, satellite and free streaming, announced a gamechanger with the premiere of a duo of new single-camera family comedies – The Parker Andersons and Amelia Parker. The two interwoven scripted series highlight events in the life of a blended multicultural, interracial family from two different perspectives.  This completely new and … Continue reading “The Parker Andersons & Amelia Parker Chicago-based duo”

Vaccinate Abuela Chicago helping Latinx & Black families

Chicago has opened eligibility for the COVID vaccine to Group 1C: Anyone over 16 who has certain medical conditions. The group Vaccinate Abuela Chicago, is making it their goal to share resources and find appointments in the communities hit hardest by COVID-19. Vaccinate Abuela Chicago’s mission is booking vaccinations for Black and Brown Chicagoans. City … Continue reading “Vaccinate Abuela Chicago helping Latinx & Black families”

The CW reboot ‘The 4400’ to shoot in Chicago area

More production news (and potential jobs) for the Chicago production community. After the success of the CW reboot of Walker, Texas Ranger starring Supernatural’s co-leading man Jared Padalecki, Riverdale’s co-executive producers Ariana Jackson and Anna Fricke have been given a straight-to-series order to The 4400, a reimagining of the 2004 USA Network drama. Jackson executive … Continue reading “The CW reboot ‘The 4400’ to shoot in Chicago area”

RBL Spotlight: actor, comedian, filmmaker Tyler Davis

Editor’s Note: “The Reel Black List” is our annual spotlight of brothers and sisters in the worlds of advertising, film, TV, music, radio and media who are making a difference through their contributions and creativity on a daily basis. For the month of February, you will be able to celebrate wonderful human beings, like Tyler Davis with … Continue reading “RBL Spotlight: actor, comedian, filmmaker Tyler Davis”

OKRP Creatives weigh in on Super Bowl ads

Despite the CBS All-Access crashing right at kick off. Despite a somewhat lame, yet spectacle-laden Half-Time Show thanks to “Should have been nominated for a Grammy” The Weeknd. Despite atrocious ref calling. Super Bowl LV was a historic telecast as we saw the oldest NFL coach Bruce Arians, 68, and the oldest QB Tom Brady, … Continue reading “OKRP Creatives weigh in on Super Bowl ads”

Not Edward, Edgar Scissorhands in Cadillac LYRIQ

Cadillac’s electric future is illuminated with a “slice” of nostalgia from Tim Burton’s Edward Scissorhands universe, in a new commercial debuting in the fourth quarter of this year’s big game. The new spot, from Leo Burnett Detroit and directed by O Positive’s David Shane, stars Timothée Chalamet, as Edward Scissorhands’s son Edgar, and Winona Ryder, … Continue reading “Not Edward, Edgar Scissorhands in Cadillac LYRIQ”

McDonald’s Super Bowl – Thank You for Driving Thru

McDonald’s has unveiled its :30-second for the Super Bowl – Thank You for Driving Thru – which will air shortly before kickoff. For years, McDonald’s has heard its customers’ favorite songs blasting in their cars at the Drive Thru. This spot celebrates the musical moments Drive Thrus customers shared with a mashup of some greatest … Continue reading “McDonald’s Super Bowl – Thank You for Driving Thru”

You want a sandwich war? You got a sandwich war.

First, there were the Chicken wars. Now, Jimmy John’s finds itself in the middle of a sandwich war during the company’s first-ever Super Bowl commercial. The new spot from the Champaign, IL-based company features “Everybody Loves Raymond” star Brad Garrett as Tony Bolognavich, the “King of Cold Cuts.”  Bolognavich runs a lean, mean and quite questionable … Continue reading “You want a sandwich war? You got a sandwich war.”

“Believe You Will” in Guaranteed Rate’s SB spot

It’s the Friday before the big game, so expect a slew of Super Bowl reveals today. Guaranteed Rate, has announced that the newest ad in its national brand campaign, Believe You Will, will air Sunday. The theme line has a very Yoda-ish vibe about it. Created by Guaranteed Rate’s in-house team, the campaign focuses on the power … Continue reading ““Believe You Will” in Guaranteed Rate’s SB spot”

Jeep to air one spot during Super Bowl

Keeping their effort under wraps, Jeep announced it will debut one commercial during this Sunday’s (February 7, 2021) Big Game telecast. The spot will air in the second half of the game. Last year, the brand along with creative agency partner and Ad Age Small Agency of the Year Highdive, created the unforgettable, Emmy-nominated Groundhog … Continue reading “Jeep to air one spot during Super Bowl”

Super Bowl consumer spending down

Chicago-based Numerator, a data and tech company serving the market research space, has launched a consumer sentiment study to understand how consumers plan to watch and spend regarding Super Bowl LV. Overall, there will be fewer repeat watchers, fewer gatherings, and less planned spend. Numerator polled 1,500 past Super Bowl viewers, evaluating responses using psychographic … Continue reading “Super Bowl consumer spending down”

Cutters Chris Claeys retires from editing

“Now is a good time to retire. After 37 years at Cutters and 47 in the industry, I’m ready to move forward and retire here at year end.” That’s the rare email message our friends at Cutters Studios received in late 2020 from Senior Partner/Editor Chris Claeys. The heartfelt message hit many emotional notes for … Continue reading “Cutters Chris Claeys retires from editing”

Burrell spot for Toyota Sienna celebrates spontaneity

The adventurous life awaits! “The Sienna Life” campaign, kicking off today, welcomes a refined and versatile minivan featuring bold design, available all-wheel drive, and enhanced fuel efficiency: the all-hybrid and all-new 2021 Toyota Sienna. The fully integrated campaign was developed against Toyota’s long-standing Total Toyota (T2) marketing model, fully considering the transcultural mainstream audiences across … Continue reading “Burrell spot for Toyota Sienna celebrates spontaneity”

One Chicago named Top TV Programs of 2020 by Nielsen

We’re rounding out an otherwise abnormal year with some good news! Nielsen released its year-end ratings report, among which is a list of the top television programs of 2020. Included in the top eight most-watched television shows this year are four Wolf Entertainment shows: FBI, Chicago Fire, Chicago P.D., and Chicago Med. ALSO READ: 2020 … Continue reading “One Chicago named Top TV Programs of 2020 by Nielsen”

2020 in Review: Reel Chicago’s Biggest Stories

What a year, huh? 2020, which felt like a decade, will undoubtedly go down in history as one of the worst years ever. And who will argue? Certainly not the staff at Reel Chicago. This year, COVID forced productions to shut down. Then start back up. Then shut back down. Then start back up. It … Continue reading “2020 in Review: Reel Chicago’s Biggest Stories”

Congratulations to the 2020 Chicago Emmy recipients

Reel Chicago congratulates the winners of the 62nd Chicago / Midwest Emmy Awards. A big shout out to two of our loyal advertisers, October TV and WTTW for taking home Emmys. The Chicago / Midwest Emmy Awards are presented annually for outstanding achievements in broadcasting. Members come from all areas of the industry and include … Continue reading “Congratulations to the 2020 Chicago Emmy recipients”

Director Tyler Davis joins Tessa Films

Director Tyler Davis, a wry, funny and multi-talented filmmaker, writer, musician and improv artist, has brought his unique combination of talents to the roster of Tessa Films, the production company launched by Executive Producers Lisa Masseur and Reid Brody. The director’s Tessa career is off to a hot start with his long-form spot for Images … Continue reading “Director Tyler Davis joins Tessa Films”

State Farm launches wickedly hilarious Halloween spots

Like most things in 2020, Halloween will look different this year and State Farm is approaching its advertising in a unique way to meet consumers where they are at. Taking an all-digital approach to align with the virtual nature of the holiday this year, State Farm is debuting a series of Halloween online video spots, … Continue reading “State Farm launches wickedly hilarious Halloween spots”

2019-2020 Chicago/Midwest Emmy Nominations List

Congratulations to our friends and advertisers who have received nominations for a Chicago/Midwest Emmy. The 62nd Chicago/Midwest Emmy Awards will broadcast virtually in November. Regions covered by the Chicago/Midwest Chapter include Chicago, Illinois; Peoria-Bloomington, Illinois; Rockford, Illinois; South Bend-Elkhart, Indiana; Green Bay-Appleton, Wisconsin; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Wausau-Rhinelander, Wisconsin; and Madison, Wisconsin. Here is the complete list … Continue reading “2019-2020 Chicago/Midwest Emmy Nominations List”

Chicago native Alex Meneses talks about upcoming film

In honor of Latino Heritage Month, we sat down with actress, model and philanthropist Alex Meneses. Alex is a Chicago native living in Los Angeles, who fell in love with acting while in high school after being inspired by a performance from Rita Moreno in West Side Story. Following high school, Alex landed a modeling contract and moved to Europe … Continue reading “Chicago native Alex Meneses talks about upcoming film”

Susan Carlson leaves NBC-5 to focus on family

Who hasn’t had a crush at one time or another on Susan Carlson, who has been one of the queens of local news for 29 years. Some of the Reel Chicago team never missed her morning broadcast before moving to LA. Now, the beloved anchor has announced, via Twitter, that she will be leaving NBC-owned … Continue reading “Susan Carlson leaves NBC-5 to focus on family”

Creative Director behind Jennifer Hudson’s performance

Behind the Scenes interview with Michael Apostolos, the Creative Director behind Jennifer Hudson’s moving performance at the DNC. This past week, Jennifer Hudson’s DNC performance touched the hearts of those watching.  Set below the Tiffany dome in the beloved Chicago Cultural Center, she sang the perfect song: “A Change is going to come.”  The person … Continue reading “Creative Director behind Jennifer Hudson’s performance”

Imagine living in a world without a superhero

Although most of us know that Chadwick Boseman, who died Friday night at the young age of 43 due to aggressive Colon Cancer, only played Black Panther in a movie, for most of us it feels like the actual superhero Black Panther died. Chadwick was bigger than life. He was more than an actor, he … Continue reading “Imagine living in a world without a superhero”

Gary Sinise to receive LMGI Humanitarian Award

Emmy-winning and Oscar-nominated actor Gary Sinise will receive the esteemed Humanitarian Award from the Location Managers Guild International (LMGI) at the 7th Annual LMGI Awards. Celebrating the theme “2020 Vision: We See It First,” the 2020 Awards will honor the exemplary commitment that Sinise and his foundation have made to give back to those who sacrifice for our nation and create a … Continue reading “Gary Sinise to receive LMGI Humanitarian Award”

NBC 5 Chicago announces new anchor desk lineup

Michelle Relerford to join fellow Chicagoan Zoraida Sambolin on NBC 5 News Today. WMAQ-TV today announced a series of changes behind the anchor desk at NBC Tower. Michelle Relerford will join Zoraida Sambolin as anchor weekdays on NBC 5 News Today. She is a Chicago native who has anchored the NBC 5 weekend news for … Continue reading “NBC 5 Chicago announces new anchor desk lineup”

Chicago Filmmakers announces Film Education Program

Chicago Filmmakers announces the launch of Masterwork: Industry Conversations, a series of virtual interviews designed to provide insight into the careers of long established and award-winning filmmakers. The first session will take place on July 23 with cinematographer Jeff Jur, and the second will be on August 27 with cinematographer Michelle Crenshaw, both followed by a … Continue reading “Chicago Filmmakers announces Film Education Program”

‘Chicago’ Encores win 7 straight weeks in total viewers

NBC’s encore “Chicago” lineup won the night among the Big 4 networks in total viewers and has now finished #1 among those nets on seven of seven Wednesday nights so far this summer. An encore telecast of “Chicago Med” (0.4 rating in 18-49, 3.6 million viewers overall from 8-9 p.m. ET) retained 100% versus the … Continue reading “‘Chicago’ Encores win 7 straight weeks in total viewers”

Legendary Pam Zekman honored with virtual tributes

The team at Reel Chicago feels that Pam Zekman is as much a part of Chicago as Navy Pier, the Cubs, and Vienna dogs. Clearly the people of Chicago feel the same way. Comments and tributes began pouring in after hearing the disturbing news that Pam lost her position of 39 years as investigative reporter … Continue reading “Legendary Pam Zekman honored with virtual tributes”

‘Graduation 2020: For Chicago. By Chicago’ lineup

Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot today announced the lineup of Chicago and national celebrities who have come together to celebrate and pay tribute to the over 35,000 graduating high school seniors across Chicago. “Graduation 2020: For Chicago. By Chicago.” is a live, commercial-free 60-minute ceremony hosted and co-created by the City of Chicago and Citadel to … Continue reading “‘Graduation 2020: For Chicago. By Chicago’ lineup”

‘Chicago Fire’ encore is Wednesday’s top show

NBC’s encore “Chicago” lineup won the night among the Big 4 networks in total viewers and tied for #1 in all key adult-female demographics. An encore telecast of Chicago Med (0.4 rating in 18-49, 3.8 million viewers overall from 8-9 p.m. ET) won the timeslot among the Big 4 networks in total viewers and was … Continue reading “‘Chicago Fire’ encore is Wednesday’s top show”

WGN America announces ‘News Nation’ team

WGN America, Nexstar’s cable network, has announced the official weekday and weekend anchor lineup for its live newscast, News Nation. The three-hour nightly news show will debut Sept. 1 and will be led by a team of journalists from WGN-TV, the Nexstar station in Chicago and across the country. The team will be led by … Continue reading “WGN America announces ‘News Nation’ team”

WGN Reporter assaulted during live shoot

Over the last four years, it has become increasingly acceptable in some circles to assault and threaten journalists and on-air reporters. Of course, when you are egged on and visibly supported by the most powerful man in the country to do so, why not right? WGN reporter Gaynor Hall was delivering a weather update in … Continue reading “WGN Reporter assaulted during live shoot”

Chicago takes a home a bundle of Telly Awards

The 41st annual Telly Awards, the world’s largest honor for video and television content across all screens, has announced the 2020 winners. With a collection of Gold, Silver and Bronze awards, Chicago-based standouts range from Bottle Rocket Media’s “Nicholas Brinley Experiences” and Studio 1847’s “Make It With Menards: Glassblower Jason Wein” to There Be Dragons LLC’s “Dustburgs” and Iron Light, PACO Collective, WTTW … Continue reading “Chicago takes a home a bundle of Telly Awards”

Chicago agencies nab 89 finalists in One Show

FCB Chicago leads Chicago agencies with 31 The One Show 2020, finalists, including 28 on behalf of Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence.  Working with FCBXLord+Thomas, both Chicago, the agency has 16 for the organization’s “Most Dangerous Street”, and 12 with Lord+Thomas and The Mill, both Chicago, for “The Gun Violence Handbook.” Ogilvy Chicago with 27 including work for … Continue reading “Chicago agencies nab 89 finalists in One Show”

Alex Pissios talks future of Chicago production

Nowhere can the pandemic’s financial impact be felt more than in the city’s once thriving production industry. Shows such as Empire, the Dick Wolf “Chicago” shows, Shameless and commercials positioned Chicago as the midwest hub for networks and studios. Once productions were forced to shutter, everyone from actors to craft services suddenly found themselves out … Continue reading “Alex Pissios talks future of Chicago production”

‘Chicago’ encores finish #2 in total viewers

An encore telecast of Chicago Med (0.5 rating in 18-49, 3.8 million viewers overall from 8-9 p.m. ET) joined with the episode’s original telecast on Nov. 6, 2019 (8.1 million) to total 11.9 viewers. A rebroadcast of Chicago Fire (0.5 rating in 18-49, 4.2 million viewers overall from 9-10 p.m. ET) ranked #2 in the … Continue reading “‘Chicago’ encores finish #2 in total viewers”

Burnett wins Agency of the Year from AAA

Congratulations to our friends at Leo Burnett and mcgarrybowen. Each agency took home three Gold statues from the American Advertising Awards which were announced April 28 virtually. Oh, and the agency at 35 West Wacker also took home “Agency of the Year.” Well done. Both agencies also took home awards in the “Best of” categories. … Continue reading “Burnett wins Agency of the Year from AAA”

Attorney General Raoul calls for changes to PPP funding

Attorney General Kwame Raoul today joined a coalition of 24 state attorneys general to call for key changes to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) to ensure that funds are distributed fairly and equitably.  In a letter to Congressional leadership, Raoul and the coalition express concerns that the program, while helping some small businesses and their employees, suffers … Continue reading “Attorney General Raoul calls for changes to PPP funding”

Periscope Post & Audio partners with Unlock Audio

Periscope Post & Audio and Unlock Audio have formed a strategic partnership to provide integrated sound and music services for games. The two companies will offer game developers packaged services encompassing music composition, sound design, foley, voice recording, sound editorial, audio implementation and surround sound mixing. Developers will now be able to meet all their audio … Continue reading “Periscope Post & Audio partners with Unlock Audio”

‘Empire’ finale delivers best ratings since October 2019

This is the way to end a series. Empire signed off with its premature series finale on Tuesday night, after the coronavirus forced the Fox show to shorten its production at Cinespace Studios. The final episode delivered a 0.8 rating and 2.9 million total viewers. That represents the show’s highest rating and largest audience since … Continue reading “‘Empire’ finale delivers best ratings since October 2019”

‘Chicago Fire’ ‘Med’ season finales #1 and #2 in ratings

NBC’s Chicago Fire and Chicago Med led the network in total viewers. The shows ended their season ranking #1-2, respectively. The season-concluding Chicago P.D. captured the show’s most-watched episode. The Masked Singer, Survivor  and ABC’s comedies all lost out the season closer of Chicago Med (1.1 rating in 18-49, 9.3 million viewers overall from 8-9 … Continue reading “‘Chicago Fire’ ‘Med’ season finales #1 and #2 in ratings”

Burrell posts powerful COVID-19 video on IG

During her appearance on CBS’ Face the Nation earlier this month, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot told host Margaret Brennan while the novel coronavirus COVID-19 has impacted the United States in unthinkable ways, the virus has been “devastating” for black communities. This can be attributed in part to the underlying health conditions that disproportionately impact people … Continue reading “Burrell posts powerful COVID-19 video on IG”

‘Chicago Med’ & ‘Fire’ #1 and 2 scripted series

NBC has tied for #2 in the key adult 18-49 demographic for the primetime ratings week of April 6-12, averaging a 0.7 rating in adults 18-49 and 4.6 million viewers overall, according to “live plus same day” figures from Nielsen Media Research. In total viewers, Monday’s The Voice was the #1 alternative series of the … Continue reading “‘Chicago Med’ & ‘Fire’ #1 and 2 scripted series”

Monica Raymond director of FBI & Chicago PD crossover

For many years, Monica Raymund has been an active member of the Wolf Entertainment team. We have seen her on the screen, most notably in her role as Gabriela Dawson on Chicago Fire, and behind the camera for her directorial debut on Law & Order: SVU. Monica recently directed the special FBI and Chicago P.D. … Continue reading “Monica Raymond director of FBI & Chicago PD crossover”

‘Chicago PD’ Hailey Upton, assigned to Dick Wolf’s ‘FBI’

The popular Chicago PD character, Hailey Upton, played by Tracy Spiridakos, was dispatched tonight by her commanding officer, Hank Voight, played by Jason Beghe, to serve a temporary assignment at the New York Bureau of the FBI. In an exciting twist for television fans, Spiridakos will guest star as Upton on the Dick Wolf popular … Continue reading “‘Chicago PD’ Hailey Upton, assigned to Dick Wolf’s ‘FBI’”

Can out of work film crews help prepare for COVID-19

Workers in the entertainment industry have been particularly hard hit as production sets and performance venues find themselves completely shut down as a precaution against the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. According to IATSE who spoke to The Wrap, 120,000 below-the-line production people are out of work in Hollywood.  Tobin Neis is the Director of Marketing at … Continue reading “Can out of work film crews help prepare for COVID-19”

UPDATED: ‘Chicago Med, PD & Fire’ halt production

All three Chicago Dick Wolf shows Chicago Med, PD and Fire have halted production and will not be returning until next season. In addition to the Chicago shows, the list includes other Wolf series Law & Order: SVU for NBC and FBI for CBS, as well as NBC’s New Amsterdam — all from Universal Television — upcoming limited series for Peacock Angelyne starring … Continue reading “UPDATED: ‘Chicago Med, PD & Fire’ halt production”

Sundance picks 12 Filmmakers for Screenwriters Intensive

Twelve screenwriters have been selected to participate in Sundance Institute’s eighth annual Screenwriters Intensive in Los Angeles, to take place March 4-5, 2020. One of the students selected is Chicagoan, Jason Park. The Intensive, a two-day workshop for select emerging writers and writer/directors from underrepresented communities, focuses on the development of first fiction features. Fellows … Continue reading “Sundance picks 12 Filmmakers for Screenwriters Intensive”

Elijah McKinnon, Executive Director, OTV

Multi-talented artist, advocate, and creative leader Elijah McKinnon — who is from the future — joins the 2020 Reel Chicago Black List, an annual celebration of African-American creativity published during Black History Month. The Reel Chicago Black List includes Global Mixx founder Mary Datcher, House Music pioneer Vince Lawrence, and filmmaker Rhyan LaMarr. To view … Continue reading “Elijah McKinnon, Executive Director, OTV”

Oscar winner Matthew A. Cherry to speak at Macy’s

Macy’s on State Street will celebrate Black History Month with a screening of the Academy Award-winning short film Hair Love followed by a thoughtful discussion with the film’s writer and director, Chicago native Matthew A. Cherry. The event takes place on February 20 at 6 p.m., Macy’s Narcissus Room, 111 North State St. Hair Love, … Continue reading “Oscar winner Matthew A. Cherry to speak at Macy’s”

In memory of Bennett Grossman

Bennett Grossman, a prominent member of Chicago’s video production community, passed away on Friday, January 17th from complications related to cancer. He was 73. The native Chicagoan and Columbia College graduate’s diverse career began when he started working at Israel’s first public television station. It would eventually include Windy City networks and companies like CBS … Continue reading “In memory of Bennett Grossman”

Veronica Dillard, actor, voice artist, producer, comedian

Millennial creative actress, voice-over artist, producer, and comedian Veronica Dillard is already having another busy and promising year. The Windy City native recently finished producing Passed Over, the story of five coworkers who discover that praying often makes the best defense in violent situations. A handful of her film accomplishments from 2019 are not only … Continue reading “Veronica Dillard, actor, voice artist, producer, comedian”

Colorist Jennifer Gaida makes The Colonie a one-stop shop

The Colonie continues to grow its roster of talent and services with the addition of Colorist Jennifer Gaida. The hiring of the creative and technically savvy talent marks the launch of the Chicago-based company’s new color grading division, rounding out the one-stop editing, design, and postproduction boutique’s full-roster of high-end services and talent. Gaida exited … Continue reading “Colorist Jennifer Gaida makes The Colonie a one-stop shop”

Showtime releases trailer for ‘THE CHI’ season three

In less than two minutes, the new trailer for season three of THE CHI showcases Chicago as one of the most dazzling, diverse, and passionate cities on earth. Cut to the uplifting beat of hometown superstar Lupe Fiasco’s The Show Goes On, layers of the Windy City unfold as skyline views, church celebrations, and family … Continue reading “Showtime releases trailer for ‘THE CHI’ season three”

WGN America to launch prime-time ‘News Nation’

Nexstar Media Group, Inc. announced today that its wholly-owned cable network, WGN America, which reaches approximately 75 million U.S. TV households, will begin airing a live daily three-hour national newscast called News Nation this summer. News Nation will air in prime-time, from 8 pm ET to 11 pm ET, and will draw on the local … Continue reading “WGN America to launch prime-time ‘News Nation’”

Telly Awards kick off 41st call for entries

Content competition introduces new categories while seeking submissions from creators of all regions and languages Following its 40th anniversary as the world’s largest honor for video and television content across all screens, The Telly Awards today opened its annual call for entries, offering several exciting new categories that signal the continued growth in creative approaches … Continue reading “Telly Awards kick off 41st call for entries”

MPG’s Keith Walker helps Oprah win Emmy

Cinematographer filmed ’60 Minutes’ segment about the National Memorial for Peace and Justice dedicated to nation’s lynching victims   Media Process Group cofounder Keith Walker helped Oprah Winfrey and 60 Minutes win an Emmy by commemorating a brutal chapter of American history. In a segment titled The Legacy of Lynching, the Chicago cinematographer filmed Winfrey’s … Continue reading “MPG’s Keith Walker helps Oprah win Emmy”

Beetlejuice-themed pop-up bar coming to Chicago

Fantasy, comedy and horror collide at the ‘House of Beetle’ in the South Loop during this year’s Halloween season Indie marketing professionals from Chicago and Houston have teamed up to launch House of Beetle, a Halloween pop-up bar inspired by the critically acclaimed Tim Burton film, Beetlejuice. Described as “a creative playhouse paying homage to … Continue reading “Beetlejuice-themed pop-up bar coming to Chicago”

The universal appeal of ‘See The Light’

Chicago actor Veronica Dillard explains how a tragedy can bring hope to any “age, race, or gender” Chicago-produced short film See the Light will make its Windy City debut during the Women Behind the Lens program at the Chicago South Side Film Festival this Saturday. Recently awarded Best Inspirational Film at the Anaheim Film Festival, … Continue reading “The universal appeal of ‘See The Light’”

Film & TV pros share expertise at ‘Courier 12’

’BlacKkKlansman’ screenwriters among panelists appearing at DePaul’s all-day industry conference on Saturday, Sept. 28   DePaul University’s annual Courier 12 Screenwriting Conference will take place this Saturday, September 28, from noon to 7 p.m. in the school’s Daley Building, 247 S. State St. Admission to the event is free and open to the public. For … Continue reading “Film & TV pros share expertise at ‘Courier 12’”

Kendall Goldberg directs unique Meijer campaign

Chicago filmmaker celebrates the people who make the grocery store a “true family company” in Distillery Project’s “Quality Assurance” Chicago agency The Distillery Project has launched a digital campaign for family-run grocery store Meijer. Titled Quality’s No Accident, the campaign focuses on the people who work at Meijer and their communities. The documentary style series … Continue reading “Kendall Goldberg directs unique Meijer campaign”

Peanuts gang makes a return to the big screen

Studio Movie Grill among nationwide theaters playing ‘A Boy Named Charlie Brown’ and ‘Snoopy, Come Home’ Over the next two months, a pair of beloved Peanuts’ animated features will appear in cinemas across the nation for the first time in over four decades. Digitally re-mastered versions of A Boy Named Charlie Brown and Snoopy, Come … Continue reading “Peanuts gang makes a return to the big screen”

The Colonie hires artist/designer Ashley Lee

Former UNLTD. creative brings agency chops to expanding and “formidable” department offerings The Colonie has added Motion Designer and 3D Artist Ashley Lee to its full-service editorial and postproduction staff. Before becoming a part of The Colonie’s expanding Motion Design Department, Lee spent two years animating and crafting content for a variety of online platforms … Continue reading “The Colonie hires artist/designer Ashley Lee”

Almost Gold shines with major expansion

Chicago-based production studio celebrates five years of creativity Design-driven production studio Almost Gold is excited to unveil a major expansion of both environment and talent. In addition to production, animation, and motion graphics capabilities, Almost Gold now offers editorial, color, finish, VO recording, and audio mix in its newly completed East Wing. The expansion comes … Continue reading “Almost Gold shines with major expansion”

FCB appoints staffers to ‘socialeyes’ at Cannes

The recipients of the agency’s third-annual #FCBsocialEYEs program will engage festival attendees at La Côte d’azur FCB has announced that Eunice Kindred and Wilbert Cheng are the recipients of the agency’s third-annual #FCBsocialEYEs at Cannes 2019. Eunice and Wilbert were chosen from more than 50 FCB applicants worldwide as part of the #FCBSocialEye contest, which … Continue reading “FCB appoints staffers to ‘socialeyes’ at Cannes”

Chicago shops score at the Telly Awards

AbelsonTaylor, Daily Planet, Delack, KemperLesnik, Mimi, rEvolution, Richter Studios, Spirit Juice, Strange Loop among 2019 winners The Telly Awards announced this year’s winners on May 21. Celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2019, the awards represent the world’s largest honor for video and television content across all screens. Entries were judged by jury members from creative … Continue reading “Chicago shops score at the Telly Awards”

Camera Ambassador, 2112 launch partnership

Adding an arsenal of rentable gear to a film, music, and tech industry nexus will help Chicago’s production community dial it up to eleven Camera Ambassador and 2112 are going all in to help filmmakers get it done. Through a partnership announced last week, the equipment rental shop and the film incubator are combining their … Continue reading “Camera Ambassador, 2112 launch partnership”

FCB Chicago helps IL organization stop a bullet

The agency’s latest effort to make the world safer is an 853-page educational book and political action website FCB Chicago and the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence (ICHV) unveiled The Gun Violence History Book during a celebration at St. James Plaza on Tuesday afternoon. Besides outlining 228 years of gun violence history in America, the … Continue reading “FCB Chicago helps IL organization stop a bullet”

AICP announces Community Award and Shortlists

Wieden + Kennedy, Apple and MJZ lead Shortlist nominations. Matt Miller, President and CEO of AICP, today announced the first-ever “Community Award,” to be presented during AICP Week in June. The Community Award is an unfiltered way to give the entire industry the ability to voice its opinion on the favorite spot of the year. … Continue reading “AICP announces Community Award and Shortlists”

Throwback Thursday: ‘Barbershop 2’ to film here

Sixteen years ago, Founder Ruth Ratny reported on the status of a highly anticipated sequel and the fate of Chicago Studio City Editor’s Note: Beginning today, Reel Chicago will do its own ‘Throwback Thursday’ featuring stories from our archives. The following article was originally published on March 21, 2003. Chicago Studio City is still going … Continue reading “Throwback Thursday: ‘Barbershop 2’ to film here”

DDB helps State Farm get funny with celebs

Ken Jeong and Terry Crews share their ‘Hidden Talents’ in a new campaign about life insurance State Farm’s Hidden Talents campaign — created by DDB and featuring actors Ken Jeong and Terry Crews — launched yesterday. The campaign is inspired by the fact that that State Farm is just as much an expert on life … Continue reading “DDB helps State Farm get funny with celebs”

The Colonie adds three assistant editors

Priscilla Perez, Lexi Midkiff, and Lindsey Fisher help meet demand at the growing editorial and post company Postproduction boutique The Colonie has announced the addition of assistant editors Priscilla Perez, Lexi Midkiff and assistant editor / assistant motion graphic designer Lindsey Fisher to its full-service editorial staff. Along with the expansion of its editing staff, … Continue reading “The Colonie adds three assistant editors”

Updated: Is there finally “Jusstice” for Jussie?

Cook County State Attorney drops all 16 criminal charges; and seals all records in a case full of twists and turns Again, the Jussie Smollett case has had more twists and turns than an episode of Empire. Less than two weeks after the Empire actor pleaded not guilty to 16 counts of disorderly conduct for … Continue reading “Updated: Is there finally “Jusstice” for Jussie?”

Reel Women: Melissa Kennedy, media professional

From marketing and development to screenwriting, Zacuto Studios’ leader of business operations offers a little bit of everything Melissa Kennedy leads the business operations for Zacuto Studios, which is owned by Zacuto USA. Prior to joining Zacuto in early 2017, Kennedy was in broadcast marketing and worked with media companies based out of Chicago. She … Continue reading “Reel Women: Melissa Kennedy, media professional”

The Colonie gets happy with Advocate campaign

Editor Tom Pastorelle cut a trio of Advocate Aurora Health spots created by MERGE and set to the theme song from The Partridge Family The Colonie editor Tom Pastorelle recently partnered with MERGE on a broadcast and web campaign for Advocate Aurora Health, one of the largest not-for-profit integrated health systems in the country. The … Continue reading “The Colonie gets happy with Advocate campaign”

Jussie Smollett: Timeline of a “hoax?”

Grand jury convenes this week to determine if the “Empire” star filed a false police report The alleged “homophobic” and “racist” attack on Jussie Smollett, which reportedly took place in the early hours of January 29, has taken more twists and turns than an hour of the locally-filmed hit Fox series Empire. One could almost … Continue reading “Jussie Smollett: Timeline of a “hoax?””

Two Nigerian suspects in Smollett attack arrested

Report: Chicago Police raided the home of “two persons of interest” on Wednesday night, investigation continues According to The Wrap, two “potential suspects” have been brought in for questioning by Chicago PD for the attack on Empire actor Jussie Smollett. Friday morning, Chicago Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi, confirmed they are talking to two men, they … Continue reading “Two Nigerian suspects in Smollett attack arrested”

Chance and Backstreet Boys drop hot Doritos spot

#NowItsHot Doritos campaign kicks off with the hip-hop and pop superstars remixing “I Want It That Way” Well, at least something is hot during these ridiculously cold Chicago days. The Super Bowl is only days away and brands are now dropping their multi-million dollar spots all over the place. Here, we have Doritos, after previewing … Continue reading “Chance and Backstreet Boys drop hot Doritos spot”

Advertising trailblazer Barbara Gardner Proctor passes

The woman who President Reagan called “The Spirit of America” opened the nation’s very first African-American owned ad agency Barbara Gardner Proctor’s story is what American dreams are made of. Born in 1933 in Black Mountain, North Carolina, to a single mother, Bernice Gardner, and raised by a grandmother and an uncle in extreme poverty … Continue reading “Advertising trailblazer Barbara Gardner Proctor passes”

The 3% Conference rises in Chicago

Expert speakers, engaging activities, and sensational presentations helped to guide 1,300 industry attendees onto the same important long-term group project   Besides being informative, last month’s 3% Conference at Navy Pier was enlightening, collaborative, optimistic, intense, cosmopolitan, introspective, touching, intimate, raunchy, and hilarious. And that was just during the final few hours of the two-day … Continue reading “The 3% Conference rises in Chicago”

Carr family hosts tribute to Bob Carr this Sunday

“I started to realize, ‘oh, he’s putting together these clips to tell a story.’ That’s really what he loved about (editing).” David Carr, on his father, Bob The family of editor Bob Carr, who passed away last month, will host a memorial celebration in his honor at Healy’s bar in Forest Park this Sunday from … Continue reading “Carr family hosts tribute to Bob Carr this Sunday”

One at Optimus signs directors Mulholland, Patton

The pair of lensmasters brings cinematography, tabletop and stop motion expertise to the production company’s growing roster (Chicago — 26 September 2018) One at Optimus, the production arm of leading production and post house Optimus, today announced that Jamieson Mulholland and Jay Patton have signed with ONE as directors. “We’re thrilled to welcome Jamieson and … Continue reading “One at Optimus signs directors Mulholland, Patton”

Burrell, Colonie team up for new Toyota campaign

The exploits of the fun-loving fictional ‘Powell Family’ are featured in the engaging social media + broadcast campaign   Burrell’s new multi-platform social media and broadcast campaign for Toyota centers around the fun-loving fictional Powell Family and ‘slice of life’ moments that inspire spontaneous family adventures enjoyed in the comfort of their 2018 Toyota Highlander. … Continue reading “Burrell, Colonie team up for new Toyota campaign”

Craig Zadan, prolific stage, TV & film producer, has died

Producer of movie musicals “Chicago” and “Hairspray” and co-producer of NBC’s  “The Sound of Music Live!” dies of complications following surgery Craig Zadan, one of film and TV’s most prolific producers of musicals, has died at the age of 69. Zadan’s death was announced Tuesday by NBC Entertainment Chairman Robert Greenblatt, who called Zadan “my dear … Continue reading “Craig Zadan, prolific stage, TV & film producer, has died”

Macy nabs Emmy nom for Chi-based “Shameless”

Aside from Macy and “Roseanne’s” Laurie Metcalf, Chicago connections went ignored: nothing for “The Chi,” “Empire,” and Dick Wolf’s “Chicago” series   Frank Gallagher is the worst father on TV, but for Two-time Emmy winner William H. Macy, the shiftless dad is pure gold. The talented actor scored his fifth Emmy nomination for his work … Continue reading “Macy nabs Emmy nom for Chi-based “Shameless””

“Division” collapses the distance of urban romance

A memorable story and a unique cast and crew prove that “Diversity is Normalcy” in a family-friendly, pro-parent, pro-artist project   Division, a short film about a young, interracial couple who find themselves in a long-distance relationship even though they live in the same city, will begin principal photography in July 2018, in Chicago, Illinois. … Continue reading ““Division” collapses the distance of urban romance”

Chicago records unprecedented TV production in 2018

Four new shows filming this summer and fall increase Windy City TV production to a record ten series   Mayor Emanuel and the Chicago Film Office at the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) today announced ten shows will film this summer and fall in Chicago. This includes filming for four new shows, … Continue reading “Chicago records unprecedented TV production in 2018”

The neverending tale of Daphne Maxwell Reid

“We needed a place to decompress from the anguish that weighs on you, and the beer cans they throw at you, and the names they call you.”   To describe Daphne Maxwell Reid as a Renaissance woman is an understatement. The Manhattan native earned a Bachelors Degree from Northwestern University while becoming the school’s homecoming … Continue reading “The neverending tale of Daphne Maxwell Reid”

39th annual Telly Awards winners unveiled

Vice, Condé Nast, Ryot, Great Big Story, Complex Networks, Radicalmedia, and Buzzfeed among next generation of multi-screen producers at this year’s event Winners reflect initiative to honor groundbreaking work “across all screens.” (New York — 22 May 2018) Marc Jacobs’ A-Z of Music, ESPN’s Celtics/Lakers: Best of Enemies 30 for 30, National Geographic’s Breaking 2, … Continue reading “39th annual Telly Awards winners unveiled”

Cow Lamp Films acquires “The View From Tall”

The Chicago-based national indie distributor signs Caitlin Parrish and Erica Weiss’s intimate coming-of-age comedy-drama   (Chicago — 16 My 2018) Cow Lamp Films announced today that they have acquired all rights in North America to Caitlin Parrish and Erica Weiss’s The View From Tall. Written and directed by Parrish and Weiss (CBS TV’s upcoming The … Continue reading “Cow Lamp Films acquires “The View From Tall””

Chicago to receive its own night on NBC fall schedule

According to Adweek, NBC is setting up an all-Chicago night on Wednesdays with “Chicago Med,” “Chicago Fire,” and “Chicago P.D.”   “We flirted with doing this in the past, and didn’t for various reasons,” said Robert Greenblatt, Chairman, NBC Entertainment. “We looked at the landscape and thought, let’s try this together.” After several years of … Continue reading “Chicago to receive its own night on NBC fall schedule”

Cinespace helps Anixter raise thousands at annual gala

Chicago film industry scores one of the year’s most significant milestones while helping people wih disabilities Last night on the campus of Cinespace Chicago Film Studios, hundreds of guests raised thousands of dollars for people with disabilities during the Anixter Center’s 7th annual gala, held this year in honor of Cinespace President Alexander Pissios. Temporarily … Continue reading “Cinespace helps Anixter raise thousands at annual gala”

The Colonie’s Nathan Rodgers cuts Towkio’s “Symphony”

The editor bringing his range of skillsets to every phase of the Chicago rapper’s music video   The Colonie’s Nathan Rodgers recently helped set the pace for Chicago rapper Towkio’s music video, “Symphony,” a new single dropped from the artist’s debut album, WWW.   The production gave the editor an opportunity to bring a broad … Continue reading “The Colonie’s Nathan Rodgers cuts Towkio’s “Symphony””

Spoiler-free review: Colin Costello on “Lost In Space”

Audiences will want to get lost with these Robinsons Confession. I was never into Star Trek reruns as a kid. Yeah, I watched them and thought Lt. Uhura (Nichelle Nichols) had the best legs ever, but there was still something missing for me. That missing element I found with reruns of Lost in Space, which … Continue reading “Spoiler-free review: Colin Costello on “Lost In Space””

Chicago Int’l TV Fest celebrates “Art of the Commercial”

The awards ceremony for the 54th Annual Chicago International Television Festival packed AMC River East in Streeterville last Thursday night. The evening began with a reception in the Wine Room at the Lucky Strike bowling alley, restaurant, and lounge, which is located on the second floor of the building where the theater resides. Executive directors, … Continue reading “Chicago Int’l TV Fest celebrates “Art of the Commercial””

Loyola U’s Sister Jean “On a Mission from God”

It is incredibly rare in this world for loving, humble, and kind seniors working hard in education to get the media attention they deserve on an international scale. Actually, for those seniors pushing 100, it is almost unheard of. That’s where the NCAA tournament and Loyola University Chicago’s journey to the Elite Eight comes in. … Continue reading “Loyola U’s Sister Jean “On a Mission from God””

Katie Holmes’ pilot joins three others shooting in Chicago

The networks are turning Chicago into “Hollywood Midwest” Katie Holmes has joined an untitled Fox drama from former Empire showrunner Ilene Chaiken and Melissa Scrivner Love, whose credits include CSI: Miami.       The drama focuses on FBI Special Agent Hazel Otis, played by Holmes. While investigating a domestic terrorist threat, her secret affair … Continue reading “Katie Holmes’ pilot joins three others shooting in Chicago”

Women dominate latest wave of industry activity

Stacie Boney is new president of Hanson Dodge Women’s History Month starts off with big news: former Energy BBDO executive Stacie Boney has been named by Milwaukee-based Hanson Dodge as its first female president. Boney succeeds Tim Dodge, who is said to be staying with the integrated marketing agency as CEO. She came to the … Continue reading “Women dominate latest wave of industry activity”

Minnie Driver voices new spot for Lexus by Team One

After completing two tours of duty with Lexus, I can say that Lexus is not easy to work on: the brand constantly challenges its agencies to deliver campaigns that exceed the expected. That said, Team One has been doing an outstanding job responding to the call by also challenging the brand and delivering creative work … Continue reading “Minnie Driver voices new spot for Lexus by Team One”

Penelope Spheeris is happy to keep getting it done

Penelope Spheeris’ journey from New Orleans carnival kid to big time Hollywood director was as exciting as the logline suggests. And, if you ask her, she hasn’t even arrived just yet. One of four children born to a father who owned a traveling show in the Big Easy and a mother who worked in a … Continue reading “Penelope Spheeris is happy to keep getting it done”

Daily Planet, Potenza, SCC among Emmy noms

The Chicago/Midwest chapter of the National Academy Arts and Sciences announced nominees last Thursday night at Rockit Bar and Grill. Hosted by WCIU’s “The Jam” team of Jordan Cornette, Danielle Robay and Felicia Lawrence, nominations were announced in a total of twenty-eight categories. Among those nominated were Ogilvy, Chicago, who has been tearing up awards … Continue reading “Daily Planet, Potenza, SCC among Emmy noms”

24/7 — Studio Mechanics Local 476

The members of Studio Mechanics Local 476, the Chicago branch of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) union, work behind the scenes of every Cinespace production. Without their contribution, the magic that comes out of Cinespace would be much more difficult to make. On a typical production, according to Business Manager Mark Hogan, … Continue reading “24/7 — Studio Mechanics Local 476”

Carol H Williams exec Britton Gibson honored by Polished Pebbles

It’s always great to see people I know from my Chicago family get recognized for the good things they do. Great if it’s in advertising or film. Even better, if it’s something for the community. The last few issues of The Reel have covered what many ad agencies and post production companies are doing for … Continue reading “Carol H Williams exec Britton Gibson honored by Polished Pebbles”

Cubs introduce W’ville

With the postseason here and the Cubs gearing up to #FlyTheW once more, it’s officially “W season” in Wrigleyville. And in a stroke of sports marketing genius, the Cubbies are converting Wrigleyville into a pop-up event right next to Wrigley stadium. ‘W’ville will feature free games, family-friendly entertainment, giveaways and opportunities to win 2017 Cubs … Continue reading “Cubs introduce W’ville”

OKRP serves up first new work for Chili’s

Last July, we reported that Chicago agency O’Keefe Reinhard & Paul had won an assignment from Dallas-based Chili’s. Well, the agency, and the baby back ribs, are back with a twist. OKRP has updated the classic Chili’s jingle — “I want my baby back, baby back, baby back…” — to include menu items that made … Continue reading “OKRP serves up first new work for Chili’s”

Chicago actor Nelsan Ellis dies at 39

Harvey-born Nelsan Ellis, who rose to fame as the character Lafayette on HBO’s True Blood, has died at the age of 39.

Variety confirms the cause was complications from heart failure.

“We were extremely saddened to hear of the passing of Nelsan Ellis,” HBO said in a statement given to Variety.

“Nelsan was a long-time member of the HBO family whose groundbreaking portrayal of Lafayette will be remembered fondly within the overall legacy of True Blood. Nelsan will be dearly missed by his fans and all of us at HBO.”

DDB and State Farm launch “Neighborhood of Good”

Both DDB Chicago and their long-time client, State Farm, believe that at the heart of any strong community are neighbors who care. Moved by this belief, the two have partnered to launch the Neighborhood of Good initiative online and on broadcast TV.

Beginning with a moving 2-minute short film called, “The Following,” the two hope to encourage viewers to take action on important causes they care about.

Daufenbach Camera hires Schumacher vet Acuna

Veteran technician Michael Acuna joined Chicago-based Daufenbach Camera motion picture equipment rental company in March.

With eleven years experience servicing Chicago’s film industry, the co-owner of the former Schumacher camera brings a wealth of homegrown expertise and local knowledge to one of the only Chicago-based equipment rental houses capable of outfitting large crews with state of the art gear.

Staff adds, changes at Cap Gun, Periscope, DDB

NAMES IN THE NEWS. Industry veteran Tom Fletcher, the former Fletcher Camera & Lenses executive, was named director of sales at Fujifilm’s optical devices division. In his new post, Fletcher, who has been consulting for the company for almost a year, will oversee sales and promotion of Fujifilm’s broadcast and cinema lenses in North America, reporting to division VP Gordon Tubbs and working out of a Lake Forest office.

Twisted Media provides FX in Fox’ $200 mm sci fi epic

All the dazzling alien holograms and more than 400 futuristic-looking human and alien computer interfaces, and other high tech device screens in the Earth vs. Alien epic “Independence Day: Resurgence,” were the work of Chicago’s Derek Frederickson and his Twisted Media team.

Frederickson was the playback graphics supervisor: on-set, in charge of all the playback graphics and animation for 20th Century Fox’ $200 million sci-fi disaster film that opens in theatres June 24 in 2D, 3D and IMAX.

NFL Draft Town’s return to Chi-Town means labor jobs

THE MAMMOTH NFL DRAFT — which die-hard sports fans dubbed “the Academy Awards of Football” — returns to Chi-Town Draft Town for the second consecutive year, April 28-30, providing a myriad of jobs for film/TV union labor.

The Auditorium Theatre is again Draft headquarters, while the three-day football festival for fans expands to Grand Park and Congress Plaza for a 900,000-sq. ft. celebration of the Draft. Admission is free.

Mostly women-led dramatic indie feature now filming

Frequent theatre collaborators director Erica Weiss and writer Caitlin Parrish are heading an independent feature being produced by an all Chicago cast and a crew primarily staffed by women.

They are co-directing the coming-of-age drama now filming in North Side neighborhoods and the western suburbs and scheduled to wrap Nov. 9.

Capacity crowd set for tonight’s AICE Awards Show

AICE AWARDS SHOW IS SRO tonight at the Museum of Broadcast Communications as the capacity sale of 540 tickets was reached Tuesday.   Special guest of honor is former editor and Skyview post house owner Jack Tohtz, who is being inducted in the AICE Hall of Fame.  Another editorial pioneer, Bob Blanford, whose longtime company back in the day was Post Pro, and a Hall of Fame inductee in 2004, will introduce Tohtz’ reel. 

Neumann’s 20 years of capturing destinations

It’s been 20 years since Michael Neumann opened full-service live action, editing and animation house One World Productions out of a single room he rented from another production company on Dayton Street. 

“We now own a beautiful large loft near Chicago Avenue and Halsted with stunning views, multiple balconies, several edit bays and an amazing vibe,” Neumann says.

“The anniversary reminds me that we must be doing something right.  After our projects people often tell us how easy we make things for them.”

Glory of TV news game gone, only the numbers remain

So the goodbyes have been said.  The tributes presented.  An era has ended.

Late last week, bona fide Chicago broadcasting legends Bill Kurtis and Walter Jacobson signed off for the last time as co-anchors of CBS-owned WBBM-Channel 2’s 6 p.m. weekday newscast — a role both had performed with considerable dignity since the fall of 2010.

The duo were immediately replaced by Rob Johnson and Kate Sullivan, who have had the honor of fronting the station’s flagship 10 pm. newscast also since the fall of 2010.  

Me You & Her highlights a season of local music cheer

Welcome to REELtoREAL, where ReelChicago contributor, music producer and musician Lou Carlozo takes on the city’s vibrant recording and music scene.

The three gals in Me You & Her are all high school age, but their creamy vocal blend and sublime style make them sound as though they’ve done a few lifetimes worth of crooning in that lil’ ol’ church behind the honky tonk, as heard on a new Christmas EP.

Ch. 5 vs. Ch. 7 in race to bring home viewer gold

Can Larry Wert at long last bring home the gold?  Now may be the best opportunity in a long time for long-standing NBC-owned WMAQ-Channel 5 general manager Wert and his local news team to make a legitimate run at dethroning ABC-owned WLS-Channel 7, the longtime champion in the late local news ratings competition.

How so? In case you haven’t heard, we are deep into the quadrennial Summer Olympics sporting extravaganza, and millions of eyes in this country are glued to NBC each evening for marathon prime time coverage of the event.

Equity firm acquires majority of Tribeca Flashpoint

Northbrook-based private equity firm Sterling Partners acquired a majority interest in five-year old Tribeca Flashpoint Academy (TFA). The school, which has an enrollment of about 600 students, will use the new capital to “enhance and expand TFA’s ability to train tomorrow’s innovators in digital media,” said CEO/president Howard Tullman.

Ch. 7 still late night news leader, but a point down

With one day to go in the Nielsen March TV ratings book, the results in the local late news ratings competition show ABC-owned WLS-Channel 7 continues to hold on the No. 1 spot in the rankings.

But as was the case in February, the station’s 10 p.m. rating of 8.2 Monday through Friday is down more than a full rating point from where it was a year ago at 9.5.  (Each local ratings point represents 35,000 households.)

Ch.2 ratings right behind Ch.7’s dropping numbers

According to Nielsen’s February sweeps book, local late news ratings competition is tighter than it was a year ago. Though still No. 1, longtime frontrunner ABC-owned WLS-Channel 7 is down some 16 percent to an 8.1 rating at 10 p.m., from a 9.7 rating a year ago Monday through Friday.

The falloff comes despite a seven percent ratings increase in Channel 7’s lead-in to the 10 p.m. news.

Chicago’s NBC ‘Smash’ ratings okay but not great

Is “Smash” a smash hit?  We know you’ve been wondering about that in the wake of the show’s debut and all the attendant hype.

Executive produced by movie legend Steven Spielberg, “Smash” purports to take us behind the scenes and show the development of a new Broadway musical about Marilyn Monroe, even as it introduces us to a varied  collection of theater people who are involved in the musical project.

NBC executives are pushing hard to put the best possible spin on the all-important overnight ratings for “Smash” after its first two weeks on the air.

Cutters, Moonlink share Jim Talbot’s unique talents

Cutters Detroit and sister company Moonlink are sharing the unique dual skills of new arrival Jim Talbot, possibly the only combination editor/DP among Detroit production/post companies. His addition brings Cutters Detroit’s editorial staff to five.

Award-winning Talbot, who is considered a very respected and high-end editor, joined the companies two weeks ago after a 21 year Detroit editing career.

Ch. 7 still rules as all 10 p.m. news ratings slip

Whoever said we humans are creatures of habit was right. For years, however, that truism has been a source of more than a little frustration to more than a few general managers and news directors at Chicago television stations.

Over time they have done just about everything thinkable short of handing each and every viewer in the city and suburbs a cool million dollars in cash to get them to change their late news viewing habits.

Grace & Wild cuts staff to the bone with 80 layoffs

In the wake of the news of Chicago-based Roscor equipment company’s mass layoffs comes the equally distressing news that 25 year old Grace & Wild production and post company also laid off the bulk of its staff on Friday.

Co-owner Harvey Grace terminated the estimated 80 people by Email.  He also issued an Email stating that despite rumors, the company was not closing.

Grace said the company was switching to a new freelance model to handle spot and movie business.

DraftFCB’s Dow teaser ad labeled ‘mathematical poem’

Tease. Tease. Tease.  It’s a familiar tactic in the advertising industry to whet the public’s appetite for what’s to come.  And DraftFCB/Chicago is doing just that in a big way via a 46-foot-tall chalkboard now visible on the side of a building in Soho in lower Manhattan.

Passersby at the site this week will see a gentleman writing out a lengthy, puzzling mathematical equation that, we’re told, combines mathematics and numbers that relate to significant aspects of human achievement.

Shanley heads new transmedia resource Picnic

Detroit’s RingSide Creative (RSCP), owned by Cutters’ Tim McGuire and industry executive Steve Wild, launched Picnic.

“Picnic will be able to utilize all of our collective talent and resources available in our Chicago, Detroit and Santa Monica office, and RingSide has the developers that can integrate and take the work to the next level,” says Craig Duncan, Cutters’ executive producer. 

Late news ratings remain static, according to latest Nielsens

The August 2011 Nielsen television ratings book ended Wednesday, and the results suggest the principal contenders in the hotly-contested late news ratings wars haven’t budged much from where they have been ranked in recent months.

Admittedly, ratings have been known to fluctuate during the summer months when TV viewing habits may vary a bit.  Numbers go up or down depending on how many folks are on vacation or otherwise occupied during the late evening hours.

Ch. 7’s ‘Windy City Live’ in Oprah’s slot finds its groove

It’s rare that a brand new, built-from-scratch TV show springs to life in perfect shape.  It’s even rarer when the show happens to be a live, local telecast such as top-rated ABC-owned WLS-Channel 7’s new Windy City Live, which launched in late May immediately following the final farewell from Chicago’s former reigning talk diva Oprah Winfrey.

Windy City Live, as we know by now, is the hour-long show conceived by fearless WLS general manager Emily Barr and her production team to fill the 9 a.m. weekday slot that Winfrey dominated for a quarter century.

Actress Rondi Reed set for ‘Mike and Molly’ Season 2

Acclaimed Chicago actress Rondi Reed will head for L.A. in August to start Season Two as one of the leads in Mike and Molly, CBS’ Monday night breakout success sitcom.

While Reed had had roles in single episodes of some 17 network TV shows, Mike and Molly represents her first role in a continuing series.  

ReelChicago spoke to Reed about playing Peggy Biggs, Mike’s mother, how it came about and what it’s been like to work with one of Hollywood’s A-Teams. 

RC: How did Mike & Molly happen for you? 

Tribal DDB puts a new twist on a McDonald’s spot

THE VOICE OF THE LEMON in McDonald’s new summer Frozen Strawberry Lemonade inspired spot from Tribal DDB might sound familiar to The Sopranos fans.  

It belongs to Steve Schirripa, a.k.a. Bobby “Bacala” Baccalieri, who moved from mobster to mouthpiece of the talking animated Lemon. The Lemon boasts how delicious a lemon can be, when pureed, sweetened and sucked with a straw, a la the new McDonald’s drink, proving that lemons are best made into lemonade.

International non-fiction TV guru speaks at 5/19 seminar

Chicago gets its very first seminar on non-fiction and unscripted programming – a.k.a. reality TV — when high-level New York-based cable network consultant Peter Hamilton comes to town Thursday, May 19 to share his invaluable insights.

Hamilton will lead a quartet of local experts as they take producers through the thicket of how to develop the kinds of shows the network buyers are looking for and then how to successfully pitch them to the right person.

The evening event will take place at Fletcher Chicago.

“The Boss” 8-episode TV series shoots March 12

PRODUCERS OF “THE BOSS” correctly chose Chicago over Pittsburgh for the location of the 8-episode series starring Kelsey Grammer as a Chicago mayor who faces the news he’s developed a degenerative mental disease.

When Lionsgate Television sets up a local production office in mid-March, it will be among three TV shows the city is hosting.

Claire Simon Casting put 371 local actors in network series

Claire Simon Casting so far has cast the most Chicago AFTRA actors in network television shows, 371 in all – 198 in the 13 episodes of Fox’ “The Chicago Code,” and 173 in 18 episodes of ABCV’s “Detroit 1-8-7.” 

“I’m really proud of our Chicago actors, they are amazing,” she says.  “Everyone involved with the two series was totally happy with their work.”

“Playboy” pilot shoot starts in mid-March

“PLAYBOY,” THE NBC PILOT, about the start of the Playboy Clubs in Chicago, about the opening of the first Playboy Club in Chicago in 1963 (at the site of what is now the 100 E. Walton St. building) will shoot here for 13 days starting in mid-March, reports Local 476’s Mark Hogan.

Starring as iconic Playboy bunnies are Laura Benanti (“Eli Stone”) an established Playboy Club star who knows her days as a Bunny are numbered, according to Deadline Hollywood.

Gustafson’s Bud spots the viewers’ choice

Cutters’ Grant Gustafson has earned a special place in the pantheon editorial excellence by having editing two of the most popular Super Bowl commercials of the decade.

In the “Super Bowl’s Greatest Commercials” special that aired on CBS Feb. 4, the Friday before Super bowl XLV, viewers voted his Budweiser spots their first and second most favorite spots.

TeamWorks’ new Big Ten Network campaigns

TEAMWORKS MEDIA produced three PSA campaigns for the Big Ten Conference that have started running on the Big Ten Network:: A second season for “Big Ten Fan Camp;” a revised “Faces of the Big Ten,” and making its debut, “Big Ten Impact the World.”

All three PSAs were produced and directed by TeamWorks’ Mike Sear and fall under the “Big Big Stage. Big Ten.” theme introduced in the fall of 2008. The theme speaks to the breadth, visibility and impact of the Big Ten across all aspects of life and sport.

Get set to laff at Comedy Shorts Festival

Chicago is a city teeming with comedy talent (you have to have a sense of humor to live here) and no where is it more explicit in films than the Chicago Comedy Shorts Festival.

The 13th annual Comedy Shorts again combine with the Chicago Comedy TV Pilot competition for a night of hilarity July 22 at the Cultural Center theatre.

The Chicago area’s only dedicated comedy film night is presented by founder Marion Sours’ Wits End Productions, co-sponsored by the Chicago Film Office.

WIF discussion: “Bringing Production to Chicago”

WOMEN IN FILM’S well-attended Executive Breakfast March 31 takes on a very broad subject — a panel discussion about “Bringing Production to Chicago.”

That provocative title could mean Hollywood features. Or it also could mean trying to stimulate commercial production, since Dan “Ziggy” Ziguluch, Draftfcb’s production head, is a panelist, along with the IFO’s Betsy Steinberg. Producer and former IFP president Sandy Gordon is the moderator. The Wit Hotel is the venue.

Three network pilots to shoot here mid-March

That overly long Hollywood dry spell will finally end in early March, with three TV pilots getting underway, a fourth being talked about for early spring, and a Vince Vaughn feature in May.

“Matadors,” from Sony TV and writer/executive producer Jack Orman, is in production offices at Chicago Studio City in preparation for shooting the first or second week in March.

Vince Vaughn comedy planned for Chicago

VINCE VAUGHN will team up with director Ron Howard for the first time this spring on an untitled comedy about infidelity. Vaughn always can be counted on to boost Chicago as the location whenever he can.

The last and only time Howard shot in Chicago was “Backdraft,” in 1991. Overall his experience here was a good one, except for a location conflict that so incensed the director that he vowed never to shoot in Chicago again. Vaughn, who has had excellent experiences here, may have helped Howard change his mind.

Screenwriter Ken Rance to pick winning script

Screenwriter Ken Rance, co-writer of the 2009 film “New in Town,” starring Renee Zellweger and Harry Connick, Jr., will be the celebrity judge who will pick the grand prize winner of the Wisconsin Screenwriters Forum script contest.

Rance will announce his choice from among three finalists, to be announced Jan. 4. The top script will receive $1,000 cash and other prizes.

Contest judges have whittled submissions from around the country to five semi-finalists. They are participating in mock industry meetings mirroring L.A.

Oprah to end syndicated show in 2011

All good things must come to an end and Oprah’s extraordinary 25 year TV run in Chicago will end on Sept. 9, 2011, according to ABC.

Oprah’s announcement on her Friday show put an end to weeks of speculation that she may leave daytime syndication and possibly move her show to OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network, Winfrey’s joint venture with Discovery Communications.

“We have the greatest respect for Oprah and wish her nothing but the best in her future endeavors,” the show’s distributor, CBS TV Distribution, said in a statement.

Will Oprah throw us over for L.A. in 2011?

Over the 25 years Oprah has broadcast her daily talk show from Chicago, it was inevitable that one day she would move the show to Los Angeles.

Apparently that day will arrive in 2011 when her CBS syndication contract ends and she will transition to her own Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) on cable in a joint venture with Discovery Communications.

The world will await the announcement of her future plans by the end of the year. In the past, Oprah either announced her retirement or a move to L.A. and she always cheerily and thankfully stayed right here.

Warner Bros. hires Midway’s local employees

The 100 people, mostly game developers, employed at the Midway Games studio in Logan Square are now employees of Warner Bros. Entertainment, Midway spokesman Geoffrey Mogilner said.

Midway closed Friday on the sale of the majority of its assets, including its Chicago and Seattle game development studios and an intellectual property portfolio that features juggernaut Mortal Kombat, to Warner Bros. Entertainment from $33 million.

“Rather than buying the company and taking on its liabilities, Warner Bros.

Steven Saltz moves his celebrity web show to TV

Chicago’s first, non-station produced celebrity late night talk show premiered July 3 on CBS Ch. 2, with the pilot episode of “The Good Night Chicago Show.”

Hosted and produced by Steven Saltz, the first half-hour episode of 13 weekly shows features veteran New York actor Frank Vincent, who has played mobsters in film and TV from “Goodfellas” to “The Sopranos.”

Vincent is the star of the $2 million independent mob drama “Chicago Overcoat” from local Beverly Ridge Pictures, slated to premiere this fall. Check it out at

Lifetime Achievement Award for Harold Ramis

DIRECTOR HAROLD RAMIS receives the “Just for Laughs” Lifetime Achievement Award at the red carpet screening of Columbia Pictures’ “Year One” at the Music Box, June 16.

The special screening is the kickoff for the TBS Presents A Very Funny Festival: Just for Laughs Chicago and is being showcased locally before its June 19 national release.

New platforms for classic memories

Thought Equity Motion’s recent NCAA March Madness video app for the iPhone is just another example of how the online stock footage company is using new technology to revive video archives.

TEM produced the highlights packages in partnership with the NCAA, and more than 10,000 users downloaded the app within the first week.

The app contains “Pop-up Video” style player profiles, the teams to watch in 2009, and highlights from classic games, including a celebration of the 30th anniversary of the iconic Bird-Johnson match-up in 1979.