CBS sitcom has Chicago roots; LoDolce joins Cutters

Robin Williams and Sarah Michelle Geller in “The Crazy Ones”

IF ADVERTISING’S DARK SIDE is displayed in “Mad Men,” then CBS’ new series, “The Crazy Ones,” is a 180-degree turn to a sitcom made even zanier by the return of the original mad man, Robin Williams, who made his TV debut in “Mork and Mindy,” way back in 1978.

 “The Crazy Ones” might smack of being a Chicago agency as it’s the creation of Leo Burnett ECD John Montgomery, also an executive producer on the fall show, which is produced by TV honcho David E. Kelley (“Boston Legal,” “Ally McBeal,” “Chicago Hope”).   

Kelley and Williams visited Burnett offices several times to soak up the authenticity of the agency business and  Montgomery has been spending time with the writers and Kelley, giving then sometimes crazier insight than they could have imagined, Adweek reported on the panel announcing the show to the media last week.

The show’s title also comes from advertising.  “Here’s to the Crazy Ones” was the anthem spot for Apple’s iconic “Think Different campaign.

The sitcom, premiering Sept. 26, co-stars Sarah Michelle Gellar as Williams’ daughter trying to keep her screwball dad in line.  James Wolk (Bob Benson on “Mad Men”) switches agencies, so to speak, starring as “Crazy’s” creative whiz and office Lothario.

RED CAR’S TIM LO DOLCE is the first editor to leave the editorial boutique whose future is tensely uncertain.  On Monday he starts a new career with Cutters, which says they are already loading up a project for him.

Red Car management still not responded to staff (and our) questions about the company’s status.  Their silence speaks volumes about the eventuality of Red Car ending its 29 years of business here. This is not official, of course, but with staff leaving, a lease ending and no announcement of new space – the answer appears to be self-evident.

NEW SHOOTING SCHEDULES: “Jupiter Ascending” added an additional two weeks to its production here, pushing it into mid-September and overlapping “Transformer 4,” starting Aug. 19.  “Jupiter” is  currently  filming massive green screen scenes at the Armory on Cottage Grove and 52nd St.

As we reported earlier, “Chicago Fire” and “Betrayal” are in the works.  “Crisis” rolls Aug. 28 and “Chicago PD” starts Sept. 6, followed by both “Sirens” and “Mind Games” Sept. 9.

Local 476’s training program is gearing up for all this work having received a training grant from the state.  More than 30 qualified trainees with previous experience have signed up for two Aug. 9 classes, taught by the Local’s two top executives.  Business manager Mark Hogan will teach Electric classes and president Brad Matthys will lead Grip training.

Local employment of three features and seven TV shows are estimated to top last year’s 2,200 jobs, according to the CFO’s Rich Moskal, and should add $51 million to our local economy.

CHICAGO’S PRIDE WAS BADLY BRUISED a few years ago when The Hollywood Reporter’s inaugural list of the top 25 film schools snubbed Columbia College, the nation’s largest film school and obviously one of the best, given all of alums who have successful movie careers.

This year, all is well. THR’s 2013 list placed Columbia as the 14th best, superceded by Northwester, #13 and followed by DePaul, #21.  The top ranked five were four California schools and New York University.

SUNDOWN IN K-TOWN 2013: Dig In! A West Side Film Festival about Food, Aug. 6-9, is presented by the Better Boys Foundation (BBF) and Facets Multimedia, focus on food issues related to the food problems that plague inner-city communities, expressed in features, docs and shorts. 

The free screening takes place in the outdoor courtyard of the BBF Center, 1512 S. Pulaski, starting at sundown (around 8:15 p.m.), where there’s plenty of free parking.

Panel discussions with informed food pioneers, journalists, food pantry providers, film professionals and others follow each night’s screening.

What’s your story?  Share it with the Reel’s readers all over the country – Europe and Asia, too.  Send to ruth@reelchicago.com.

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