Starz’ new “Girlfriend” TV series shoots here for 4 days

Riley Keough co-stars in “The Girlfriend Experience”

“THE GIRLFRIEND EXPERIENCE” – the small screen adaptation of director Steven Soderbergh’s 2009 movie – starting June 9 will shoot city exteriors for four days. The 13-part, half-hour Starz series centers on the life of a New York call girl (Jenny Raven) “meeting the challenges of her boyfriend, her clients and her work.”

It also features Riley Keough (Elvis Presley’s granddaughter); Soderbergh is EP, Christine Varotsis the UPM. Transactional Pictures produces for Starz.

OTHER THAN “CHICAGO MED,” alas, no new TV series will be heading our way for the new fall season.  No greenlights flashed for two pilots — action-drama “Runner, Runner” and relationship drama “Love is Four Letter Word” — shot here earlier this year.  They were two of a total of 85 pilots made this year. 

Nonetheless, we can claim bragging rights for “Empire,” TV’s highest rated mega hit series, filming here, along with Dick Wolf’s three NBC primetime dramas with “Chicago” in their titles.

Expect to see comedian/actor Chris Rock, pop star Alicia Keyes and singer/actor Lenny Kravitz in Chicago for roles in upcoming “Empire” episodes. 

All four series film at Cinespace, starting next month.

(One series we would’ve loved to see film here is ABC’s all- TV reboot of version of John Hughes’ comedy “Uncle Buck,” with an all-black cast.  The original movie starred John Candy in the title role and filmed on the North Shore during the late writer/director’s 1980s Golden Years in Chicago.)

ON THE SPOT: EP Craig Leffel of recently formed Big Spoon Productions, is in post for nine web videos for the global food service division of Unilever, via the Marlin Company agency, Springfield, Missouri.  Directed by Gabe Hatfield, the crew shot specific uses of Unilever products in a number of different commercial kitchens over four days.

Leffel, who has “a long relationship with food,” through his experience in table top color correction, says the food was treated in a “contemporary way, showing its preparation and the way it’s cooked.” Mark Jepsen is currently editing.

A SHOOT IN SPAIN is coming up for STORY’S rising star directing team of The Barkers, the Chicago-based husband-and-wife team of Chris and Kristin Barker (P&G’s Always/Leo Burnett, Ziplock/Energy BBDO). They will be filming back-to-school commercials for a national retail chain in Barcelona.

NEW ACCOUNT IN TOWN.  BP tapped Publicis Grope’s DigitasLBi as the digital agency for the petroleum company’s estimated $4 million account.  The agency will support digital strategy and creative for BP Fuels, the more consumer-facing gas station business.

“LIVE TO TAPE” is a May 18-24 weeklong celebration of artist TV performances and screenings curated by video, text and performance artist Jesse Malmed

Held at Links Hall, 3111 N. Western, the festival showcases works by more than 60 artists over four decades that take television as object, concept, antagonist, form and inspiration. Tickets are $12.

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