‘The Playboy Club’ ratings lost in the competition

CRITICAL REVIEWS of the debut episode of the Chicago-set NBC series The Playboy Club were, to say the least, disappointing. It attracted a painfully low 1.6/4 rating in the 18-49 demographics, which translated to a 5 million viewers. 

In Playboy Club’s defense, it was a tough night for series’ openers with heavy competition from other networks’ new series’ openers and popular established shows.

Below-the-line, we heard, there were production problems on the set, at Cinespace, resulting in the replacement of our local UPM, a first-rate producer and no fault of his, by an L.A. producer/UPM, who it is felt, might be able to overcome some of the over-budget battles on the three finished episodes.

The fourth episode of the show is in production and while Hollywood actors fill the leading roles, Chicago talent is in evidence.  They are Phil Ridarelli, Katherine Cunningham, Christian Stolte, John Hoogenakker, and Randy Steinmeyer.  Steinmeyer played Clyde Hill, the Mafia boss killed in the first 10 minutes of the first episode.

STARZ’ UPCOMING CHICAGO-PRODUCED Boss series, in which Kelsey Grammer, in his first dramatic series, plays a declining Chicago mayor based on King Lear, premieres Oct. 21 at 9 p.m.  The intriguing trailer is getting high marks and with luck, three-star reviews and high ratings, Boss might extend beyond its initial six to a full 12-episode season.

The series also features local talent, so be on the lookout for Tom Gaitsch, Matt DeCarro, John Carter Brown, James Vincent Meredith, Gail Rastorfer, Tamberly Perry, Kevin Gudahl and Joe Minoso.

COMMERCIAL PRODUCTION snapped back to life after a somewhat dry summer. Here’s some of the action. 

Ed Amaya 59 Films brought in L.A.-based Bob Industries for the new round of Illinois Lottery spots, shooting on Chicago locations. Cutters’ Dictionary has an L.A. shoot going for Burrell Communications, directed by Bob Akers. Cutters’ Grant Gustafson is editing spots for State Farm/DDB and Coors and Millers packages for Draftfcb.

Foundation’s director/editor James Lipetzky is helming the third round of spots for the University of Iowa Hospitals, via Des Plaines agency SPM, health care media specialists.

The Colonie’s Tom Pastorelle edited four spots for McDonald’s/Leo Burnett that promote McDonald’s latest Happy Meal food choices and toy products. The spots were produced by Creative Film Management with director Thor Freudenthal and producer Kelly Amato.

Pastorelle also edited the Chicago Bears’ currently airing spots, with the tagline, “One City, One Team,” from agency Two by Four.

Sam Fishkin of Mix Kitchen handled the audio on another Pastorelle-edited series, for the currently airing Chicago Bears spots with the tagline, “One City, One Team,” for agency Two by Four.

Fishkin also handled all the audio for Motion Post and producer Rashid Ghazi’s highly acclaimed doc, Fordson: Faith, Fasting, Football.

THE FEATURE HEARTLAND, that filmed in DeKalb for three weeks in late July, has returned for the last three weeks of production in the same location.  Directed by Ramin Bahrani, it stars Zac Efron and Dennis Quaid.

PRODUCING IN A DATA WORLD is a good topic to learn about, and  FotoKem’s nextLAB Mobile Lab Services will should enlighten attendees at two sessions being held Tuesday, Sept. 27 at Fletcher Cameras & Lenses.

Speakers are nextLab’s Tom Vice, VP/general manager, Rick Harding, director, business development and Fletcher’s Megan Donnelly, director, mobile services. Click here for more information and to RSVP.

Fall is a busy production season, so that means you’ll have lots of news to share with Reel readers. Pick up the phone, 312/274-9980 or Email Ruth@Reelchicago.com. Do it now.