“Boss” Season 2 renewal means hundreds of local jobs

Kelsey Grammer as Mayor Kane in “Boss”

 They say “three’s the charm,” and perhaps that will be true for the Kelsey Grammer starrer, “Boss,” after the disappointment of “Chicago Code’s” cancellation after one season and the cellar ratings for “Playboy Club,” which don’t bode well for its future.

It’s said that Starz’ new head, Chris Albrecht, liked “Boss’” dramatic storytelling so much that he greenlighted it for a second season weeks in advance of its Oct. 21 premiere.

The upcoming series of 10 episodes, two more than the original eight, will return to Cinespace stages, where the original sets have remained since the first series wrapped in August after a three month shoot.  (“The Playboy Club” is also filming there.)

Grammer, in his first dramatic role, portrays a powerful, crafty Chicago mayor who hides his deteriorating mental condition. Connie Nielsen costars as his wife.

The series is produced by Grammer’s Grammnet Productions and Lionsgate TV.  The show’s creator, Farhad Safinia (“Apocalypto”), serves as executive producer, along with director Gus Van Sant, who made his television show directorial debut with the “Boss” pilot.

Local 476’s Mark Hogan says the show is a boon to Chicago labor.  It employs hundreds of local union workers, including many for such key positions as department heads, leads, key grips and gaffers, set decorators and designers.  

The producers’ decision to hire local keys was especially gratifying, since studios tend to bring their own people from L.A. to fill those important slots.

Many local actors have recurring roles

Local actors are also liberally employed. Claire Simon Casting filled 87 speaking roles for the upcoming first season.  Among the between 15 and 20 who have recurring roles are Francis Guinan as the Illinois governor running for reelection; David Pasquesi, as a newspaper editor; James Meredith, an alderman; Joe Minoso, an aldermanic aide and newcomer Rotimi Akinosho, whose important part was not disclosed by the agent.

The city itself is another star of the series. “There was a lot of exterior shooting, mostly throughout the Loop, in Hyde Park, the site of the mayor’s house, and all over the city,” says the Chicago Film Office’s Rich Moskal. 

As for the future of other network TV pilots that filmed here last winter, Moskal says he’s only heard that MTV has opted to pick up the  post-grad slacker comedy, “Underemployed,” but he does not know if the series will shoot here.  And he has not received any word yet about the future of FX’ “Powers” pilot, about homicide detectives who investigate crimes committed by super beings.