Chicago hits record income from TV series filming here

Mayor Emanuel

Thanks to NBC, Fox TV, Amazon and other TV shows, features, and the large number of media and entertainment projects filming here, Chicago is ascending into the rarified strata of billion dollar film markets.

In just the span of five years, actually since the advent of Cinespace Studios in 2011, Chicago has recorded $1.3 billion generated by entertainment and commercial production.This means that the local economy has directly benefited by a  total of $3.25 billion from film production activity.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Wednesday morning made the announcement Wednesday morning “Chicago Fire’s” fire department set on Cinespace’s Stage 11, during a press conference that announced the start of production next week of Dick Wolf’s fourth NBC/Universal television series, “Chicago Justice,” filming in Chicago.  

Along with NBC/Universal executives, film industry and union members, also in attendance were actors Taylor Kinney, Monica Raymund and Miranda Rae Mayo from “Chicago Fire,” Colin Donnell and Brian Tee from “Chicago Med,” Jon Seda from “Chicago” PD, and Carl Weathers from“Chicago Justice.” 

NBC Universal’s Dick Wolf

The Mayor further also stated that the City of Chicago has seen a record number of TV productions filming in 2016, a two-fold increase in network TV shows filming here over last year.

The TV series referred to are NBC’s recurring dramas “Chicago Fire,” “Chicago PD” and “Chicago Med,” and Fox TV’s “Empire,” and this season’s Amazon’s “The Patriot,” new NBC “Chicago Justice” and Fox’ “APB” and “The Exorcist,” which is set to premiere Sept. 23 on Fox.

This activity, the mayor added, “is a testament to the depth and talent of Chicago’s local film industry,” along with “our state-of-the-art facilities and affordable services, our skyline and the rich diversity of Chicago’s neighborhoods.”

Through the 2016-17 season, “Chicago Fire, PD and Med” will have generated 5,600 direct and indirect Illinois jobs and minority groups comprised nearly 50% of crew and production hires, according to the DCEO.

Prior to his speech, the mayor shook hands with countless members of Studio Mechanics Local 476, whose membership has risen to 1,500 and still growing, talked with members building sets and visited the carpenter shop.

“It was a great celebration of success for all the great NBC and Fox TV productions that continue to work here,” said Local 476 President Brad Matthys of the occasion.

Sidebar: The present billion film markets are California, New York, Atlanta, New Orleans and Miami.

Also: ReelChicago estimates the year-end revenue from film will hit $1 billion-plus. This total includes an estimated $800 million from TV series and $143 million from commercials (AICP, 2014) and $100 million from other genre productions including corporate, indie films, web series, reality TV, music videos, etc., adding up to $1,042 billion.