THE REEL THING: News & Notes

BUSY GUYS. Bob Teitel and George Tillman’s “Barbershop: The Series” will air this fall on Showtime, while HBO airs their “Soul of a Nation,” an exploration of black music in America.

The Columbia College alums’ company, State Street Pictures, currently has three features in development: “Champions,” an urban “Parenthood”-like comedy; “The Piece,” a drama about a black female cop; and “A Conversation With the Mann,” a biopic of a fictional 1950’s comedian who tries to balance his need for success with a need to inject social commentary into his act.

And if that’s not enough, TV networks are close to buying various television shows. Haven’t heard if any of the myriad projects will shoot in Chicago.

AGENCY BEAT. Leo Burnett hired producer Lee Goldberg, previously with Y&R … And Y&R hired freelance producer Kim Mohan … Freelance producer Pam Pietrowski joined BBDO …And on the rep side: Mary Ida Bonadio (who lives in New York) and Donna Daguanno split their rep partnership after a year of togetherness.

FILMMAKER JOHN DIGLES goes to Sundance to attend the Sundance Institute Producers Conference the week of Aug. 1. He was invited to study and workshop the second film, “Angels,” from his and partner Davidson Cole’s Traveller Jones Productions. Their $1 million debut feature, “Design,” was a 2002 Sundance selection and often airs on the Sundance channel. They are repped by International Creative Management.

“IT’S HUNGRY OUT THERE,” moan directors’ reps about the lack of agency spot business. “Brutal” is how a veteran rep describes it. “Competitors are giving away the store to get the job,” says another. Speculating on the reason: economy slowdown and too many directors.

SWEET HOME ILLINOIS II the IFO party for ex-Chicagoans in the industry in L.A., takes place Sept. 26 at the Hilton L.A. hotel in Universal City. The 2004 party attracted 800 guests. Private sponsors fund the event.

VINCE VAUGHN plans on becoming a permanent Chicago resident, by virtue of the condo he’s in the process of buying and his shiny new Illinois drivers’ license.

HEADING FOR MAD TV is lucky improv actor Frank Caeti. His last performance at ETC Stage will be Aug. 6 Caeti’s on-camera agent is Brooke Tonneman of Big Mouth Talent and Debbie Kotzen of Naked Voices for voiceovers.

THE 37th JEFF AWARDS Nov. 7 will be held at new Drury Lane Theatre Water Tower Place, after seven years at the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts in Skokie. Tickets are $65 for general admission and $50 for a number of guilds. The Joseph Jefferson Awards honoring excellence in theatrical productions in Chicago theatre for Equity theatre professionals, as it’s called, was founded in 1968.

AN OSCAR NOMINATION went to producers Peter Gilbert of “Hoop Dreams” acclaim, and Adam D. Singer for their feature length doc, “With All Deliberate Speed” in the Exceptional Merit in Nonfiction Filmmaking. Winners unveiled Sept. 11 in L.A. Doc is about the historic Brown V Board of Education Supreme Court decision. It was released May 14, 2004 to coincide with the ruling’s 50th anniversary.

FREELANCE SPOT PRODUCERS ARE GROUSING about the dearth of local commercial production. Vendors also note this summer is one of the slowest for business since the 2001 recession. Fortunately, other sectors of production are thriving.

BIG COUP FOR AVID as six of Fox’s 27 TV stations ? including Milwaukee’s WITI ? will convert from analog-based systems to Avid’s end-to-end digital production environments for ingest, editing, storage and playout. Completion is slated for the end of the year.

SCARY THOUGHT. TV networks are filling their fall schedules with surreal series at a time when surreal and horror movie revenues are eerily shrinking at the box office. Horror ranks as most popular genre with Chicago indie producers.

PRODUCT PROLIFERATION was the talk of the 24th annual Video Software Dealers Assn. convention in Las Vegas, noting that some 48,000 titles are now available on DVD. The outpouring has caused a severe shelf-space crunch at retail.

SHARE YOUR NEWS with The Reel’s big local and national readership. Send info Photos always welcome, too.