Another TV pilot hits town; producers head to L.A.-Chicago bash; adwoman takes on new challenge

“LEVERAGE,” a TV pilot from Dean Devlin’s TNT Entertainment goes into production Oct. 6-15 in Chicago, having won out over Portland, Vancouver and Montreal, thanks to the abundance of perfectly suited office space available here that’s required by the story.

“That and Illinois’ tax incentives cinched the deal,” says the IFO’s Todd Lizak, who heads IFO scouting.

The story’s about a team of high stakes, high-tech thieves who circle the globe to rob from wealthy criminals, corrupt businessmen and venal politicians.

No stars have been cast or a director hired just yet, but the production company set up shop in the Sangamon Building.

Devlin’s movie division has produced several blockbusters, such as “Independence Day,” “Godzilla” and “Patriot.”

HOLLYWOOD BOUND for the 3rd annual Sweet Home, Chicago Sept. 24 party are IFOers Betsy Steinberg, Joyce Davis, and the aforementioned Lizak, who will host a producers breakfast at the Beverly Wilshire the following day with a record 135 guests planning to attend.

Producer Ginny Weissman, who originally founded the event 20 years ago, Mike Wilburn, Sherry Pemberton and the Seneca Hotel’s <.b> Mike Foster are some of the other attendees. Tom Dreesen will MC the event.

When Weissman worked as a writer for Michael Landon, produced and wrote books about television, she and studio publicist, the late Morgan Moore, in 1987 started a little event called Windy City West to bring former Chicagoans together.

“It would’ve been held in Morgan’s backyard,” Weissman recalled, “but fortunately Tom Dreesen hooked us up with Lettuce Entertain You and they gave us Ed Debevic’s for the party for 10 years.”

This will be Weissman’s 13th party. She returned to Chicago in 1990 and continued to fly back until 1997, the last Windy City West. The party was dormant until 2005 when IFO director Brenda Sexton resurrected it and the IFO it for two years. This year the Chicago Party Alliance is putting on the event and the IFO is one of its sponsors.

A NEW DIRECTION for O&M’s co-managing director Linda Garrison, who spent 12 years at the agency. She’s joining Steppenwolf Theatre Co as new director of marketing and communications. She’d been a Steppenwolf trustee for seven years but never worked in a theatre before. Co-manager Joe Sciarrotta continues as O&M’s head creative.