“The Detroiters” series settles on shooting in Detroit

Creators/EPs Sam Richardson and Tim Robinson

The filming location for Comedy Central’s “The Detroiters” 10 episodes actually will be the Motor City, instead of New York which had been seriously discussed since its executive producers are Lorne Michaels’ Broadway Video and “Saturday Night Live” alum Jason Sudeikis (“Horrible Bosses”). 

The series was created, written and executive produced by metro Detroit natives Sam Richardson, who played the ineffectual political lackey of “Veep,” Tim Robinson, “Saturday Night Live” writer and former featured player and “SNL” writers Joe Kelly and Zach Kanin. 

Richardson and Robinson also have a Chicago connection as having been fellow students at Second City.

They play a pair of struggling Detroit ad men, who produce low-budget local commercials and relentlessly pursue their first major client, played by Jason Sudeikis.  The plot was inspired partly by the classic Detroit ads they grew up watching, such as Gordy from ABC Warehouse campaigns.

Filming will start this summer and the show will bow in the fall. 

The pilot, shot in Detroit last June, received Michigan’s incentives before Gov. Rick Snyder killed them a month later.  The filming location remained up in the air until a few weeks ago when Detroit won out for creative and economic reasons.

For one, the creators felt the series should be filmed in their hometown, describing Detroit as a third character in the series.

Another factor for the decision, says Jennell Leonard who heads the Michigan Film & Digital Media Office (MFDMO), “was the state’s knowledge and expertise in dealing with production companies and Detroit’s streamlined, cost-efficient city-related services.”

“Ultimately, we made a talent-driven, business and creative decision,” says Mara Waldman, Comedy Central VP/production. “We had such a positive experience when we filmed there in June, and fell in love with the city’s iconic locations.”

Since the incentives went away last year, MFDMO has established a new mission. Its role in working with Comedy Central, says Leonard, serves as a prototype, and example of its newly formed leadership in assisting municipalities across Michigan in attracting production companies and film projects.

FYI: Michigan’s film incentives generated revenues of $1.3 billion against a cost of $450 million since 2008, when Democrat Gov. Jennifer Granholm started the incentives and supported them during her administration.