Showtime has ordered a second season of The Chi, a coming-of-age drama set in Chicago that has averaged four million weekly cross-platform viewers since debuting on January 7.
Featuring an ensemble cast and multiple storylines, the series is not only produced entirely within the Windy City, but it also showcases a legion of homegrown talent.
Executive producer Common and Emmy award-winning creator Lena Waithe (who wrote ten episodes for the 2018 season) both hail from Chicago.
Cinespace Studios, in the city’s Lawndale neighborhood, serves as the show’s home base. Several production and post vendors within the facility’s extensive West Side campus provide additional services to help get The Chi done.
“The show’s been absolutely amazing,” says Michael Nehs, Partner and Owner of Periscope Post & Audio. “It’s great for the city and the people who work here. I think it’s going to last for four or five seasons.”
Periscope has been handling dailies for The Chi since production began in early 2017. According to editor Michael Thomas James, a combination of excellent performances, beautiful footage, complex characters, and a cool narrative create a level of authenticity that cannot be found elsewhere.
“If you want to tell a compelling story about Chicago,” he says, “you need to film in Chicago.”
Cinespace Chicago President Alex Pissios agrees.
“What more can you ask for,” he asks. “A show about Chicago, written by Lena, who is a Chicagoan, produced by Common, who also is a Chicagoan, and, most importantly, all the jobs a second season will create for our great city.”
For the brass at Showtime, the answer to Pissios’ question is: another season.
“We love the vibrant characters and the nuanced world that Lena has created,” says Gary Levine, the network’s President of Programming. “Her vision for The Chi has clearly struck a chord, and we know she has many more moving, personal and resonant stories to tell about her beloved hometown.”